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Innovative concussion technology to be tested at All-American Bowl

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When dozens of the nation’s best high school football players take the field Saturday afternoon for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl — on NBC, incidentally — some of them will do so with an additional piece of equipment that has the chance to revolutionize how in-game head injuries are diagnosed on the sidelines.

And, hopefully, save a little gray matter along the way.

Battle Sports Science has developed a device they call a concussion indicator.  The device has been inserted into the chinstrap of several players participating in the all-star game, and is intended to measure the g-force of a collision, using a series of LEDs to alert sideline personnel to potential head injuries.

Inside the chinstrap is software that measures the force and duration of a hit. Outside the strap is a light indicator. Green means you’re fine. A yellow blinking light means there’s a 51-percent chance you have a concussion. A blue light means there’s a 70-percent chance, and red means 90-percent chance. “At any point when that light changes they need to pull the kid off the field and do a quick evaluation and if everything’s fine, great,” said Chris Circo, CEO of Battle Sports Science, the company that developed the concussion indicator. “We’re not detecting anything other than, you’ve been hit at a certain G-force for a certain duration. Somebody needs to take a look at you,” said Circo.

While the current devices are merely prototypes and thus bulkier than what the final product will be, at least one of the players who has been using it during practice in the run-up to the game had no issue with the additional equipment.  Said Los Angeles high school RB/DB De’Anthony Thomas, “At first I thought it was going to be uncomfortable because it’s bulky a little bit, but it’s, it’s great.”

Certainly there are some out there who are leery of rules changes aimed at protecting players leading to the “wussification” of the sport.  However, it’s a no-brainer (no pun intended) to take a look at any and all technological advancements in the equipment arena to make the sport as safe as possible without drastically altering the fiber of what makes the game so great.

As the parent of a 13-year-old participating in youth football, it’s good to hear the technological side of the concussion issue is being addressed in such a meaningful manner.  Hopefully, that tack will continue in earnest. By all parties involved.

Appalachian State announces five-year extension for head coach Scott Satterfield

Scott Satterfield
Associated Press
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One day after it was revealed its head coach was the second-lowest paid in college football, Appalachian State announced a five-year contract extension for head coach Scott Satterfield.

“We have the right coach leading our football program in Scott Satterfield,” Appalachian State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement. “In nearly three years as head coach, he has stayed true to his convictions, built the program the right way and set Appalachian State football up for sustainable success both in the Sun Belt Conference and at the national level.”

Satterfield had earned $375,000 annually, ahead of only Louisiana-Monroe’s Todd Berry at $360,000 a year.

Satterfield, 42, is 14-14 in his third season at the Boone, N.C., school. He led the Mountaineers to a 7-5 mark in their debut Sun Belt season, and has the club at 3-1 to start the 2015 campaign.

“It’s exciting for my family and me to know that we’re going to be at Appalachian for the foreseeable future,” Satterfield added. “I’m living a dream by being the head coach at my alma mater and can’t wait to continue to work hard to help this program reach heights that it has never reached before.”

Wisconsin announces 10-year agreement with Under Armour

Joel Stave
Associated Press

What has long been rumored became fact Friday, as Wisconsin announced a 10-year agreement with Under Armour.

“I am absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with Under Armour,” AD Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his team have established a brand that fits perfectly with the Wisconsin athletics story and culture. Our primary focus at Wisconsin is, of course, our student-athletes, and Under Armour’s passion and commitment to high quality and innovation will benefit our student-athletes for years to come. Our entire department is looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with the Under Armour team.”

The new deal will pay the Badgers a total of $7 million in cash and product in 2015-16 and is valued at $96 million over the life of the contract, good for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Nike’s new contract with Michigan.

Hidden within the contract are two nuggets that UA offered to sway the Badgers away from Adidas, from the Portland Business Journal:

Wisconsin will get as much as $500,000 from Under Armour to “rebrand” athletic facilities. It’ll get $150,000 to build out an Under Armour retail space in a campus gift shop called Bucky’s Locker Room. It also gets two summer internships for students at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters.

“The University of Wisconsin is an institution built on the highest values of academic excellence, and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with one of the most vibrant, distinctive and successful athletic programs in the country to help elevate the performance of all Badgers with innovative footwear and apparel,” added Plank.

Wisconsin’s departure continues to weaken the stronghold Adidas had built in the Midwest after losing Michigan to Nike and Notre Dame to Under Armour in recent years (the company still owns apparel rights for Indiana and Nebraska). The Badgers are now the 41st Division I athletics department and 17th FBS program to join UA.