MODESTO (CBS13) – Seven Modesto high school teams are adding impact sensor helmets for their football players to wear to keep them safe.
Football season starts now for the incoming freshmen. Not many of these freshmen will get the chance to play in the big varsity game, but Gregori High School had one freshman last year who made the team’s biggest play and changed the game.
“I said I wanted to make the sport I love safer,” Dominic Barandica said.
Barandica’s mission didn’t start on the field, but in English class – an essay assignment turned into grant writing.
“I found this Riddell InSite technology and so I decided to write a grant and have our school be one of the first to have this technology,” Barandica said.
He won the grant and scored 36 concussion helmets for the team.
The football coach says concussions on the field were a problem before, but he didn’t know just how much of a problem.
“A lot of kids want to play through it and they don’t let anybody know,” said Gregori Football Coach Jason McCoy.
But with a thin sensor insert, the coaches know when a kid gets hit and how hard. It went off several times last season, forcing players off the field.
“We have a handheld device that’s a vibrator. If it goes off, it lights up and has the kid’s number on it,” McCoy said.
The helmets are so popular with coaches and parents, Modesto city schools will vote Monday night to buy them for all high schools.
“I think it will be approved tonight by the board. This is a long time coming and it’s great to have this new technology,” said Michael Coats, Director of Educational Services.
Barandica is proud the helmets kept his friends safe last year.
“They live to play football, so when they try to do anything, even any injury, they’ll try to play through,” Barandica said.
And these freshmen now have a better shot of making the next big play.
The Modesto City School District board voted unanimously Monday night to approve the helmet purchase. The estimated total cost is $60,000.