As some of you may know, HockeyMom411 partnered with Athlete Intelligence to bring you first-hand reviews on their impact sensors. Many are familiar with the Shockbox helmet sensor which Athlete Intelligence acquired in 2015. The Shockbox is designed to be attached to the helmet and provide an immediate wireless transmission to your smart phone of a hit count and when a player has experienced a head impact over a predetermined threshold. We were super excited to receive the sensor as this is my son’s first year in Bantam and received approval from his hockey coach to use the technology.
The sensor is small and secures to the top of the helmet with a strong Velcro adhesive which allows removal for charging. I am sad to say that we won’t be able to bring you a product review of this fabulous product as USA Hockey has deemed them a violation of Rule 304 which “prohibits the alteration of equipment; more specifically the helmet. Furthermore, Section 3 of the USAH Playing Rules outlines what constitutes the playing uniform and what equipment may worn outside of it. In other words, by wearing a concussion sensor on the helmet you’re introducing a non-recognized piece of equipment into the game. While this equipment certainly does not provide the wearer with an unfair advantage while participating in play, it does present risk to an opponent, teammate or official in the event of incidental body contact. Additionally, Rule 304 mandates that all players (including goalkeepers) must wear a Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) approved helmet during games. When helmets are tested by HECC for safety, they are tested without concussion sensors. This means there is no research into how the sensor might affect the protective properties of the helmet when the sensor itself is struck directly, or what the adhesive used to attach the sensor might do to the integrity of the plastic of the helmet. Lastly, the research on these devices is speculative as to how accurate and effective they are at measuring force and its impact on the skull and brain.“
Yes, there is not a lot of research to support the effectiveness of the devices; but how can research be obtained if the product can't be used? It is our belief that any data is better than no data, and when it comes to the safety of our kids I don't think the risk of a small device coming loose outweighs the benefits of data that monitors the impact exposure during hockey.
If you are interested in your young player wearing an impact sensor, please reach out to the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) and to USA Hockey. Remember, the only thing more powerful than our players are their parents! The more of us that request the use of this technology, the more likely we are to change the ruling.