Centerville football team gets national attention for special helmets

CNBC reports on Riddell InSite helmet sensors, which team has worn since 2017

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

The Centerville High School football team performed well Friday with a big homecoming crowd watching — and not only from the stands.

Courtney Reagan, a 2001 Centerville High School graduate who is a senior retail reporter at CNBC, was at the game to report on the Riddell InSite helmet sensors the Elks have worn since 2017.

“Just to see all the military out here tonight and all the alumni for homecoming and even CNBC out here covering us globally, it’s just a really cool thing to see,” Centerville coach Brent Ullery said after his team improved to 5-0 with a 37-6 victory against Northmont at Centerville Stadium. “It was an awesome opportunity to make our community proud, and it was great to see our players go out there and do that.”

CNBC broadcast live from the game for “News with Shepard Smith” on CNBC. The report was also shared on YouTube under the headline, “Ohio high school bets on smart football helmets to prevent injuries.”

“You can really feel the excitement and the buzz here,” Reagan said during the broadcast. “It’s homecoming night. It’s military appreciation night. The school spirit is the same. Full disclosure, this is my hometown. I went to this high school. But the helmet technology has changed a lot since I was here. It’s a familiar sound — the clash of helmets and pads on the field. The danger posed by the big hits is obvious. But medical research shows it’s the smaller, unnoticed hits that cause most of the traumatic brain injuries.”

Centerville purchased the helmets five years ago with help from Bill’s Donuts in Centerville. It cost $12,000 to purchase 120 helmets, which collect and analyze data from on-field head impacts. The coaches and trainers can then monitor the data and help the players improve their technique to help avoid impacts.

“This has been an important tool for our program because safety has always been and always will be a top priority for us,” Brent Ullery said in a press release. “We take our player safety very seriously, and the Riddell InSite tool lets us have great conversations with our athletes about technique and the proper, safe ways to play football. We are also able to analyze if we are practicing correctly or if we have too much volume. We are constantly tweaking our practices and drills to make them safer and provide our athletes with the right skills to play our game and do so in the safest way possible.”

Centerville Athletic Director Rob Dement thanked Reagan and CNBC for reporting on the story.

“There is no way to guarantee 100 percent that football players will not be injured,“ Dement said, “but I am so thankful that we are able to provide this extra level of protection for our kids.”

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