Wyoming Football advances player safety through Riddell partnership

Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 9:17 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Through every tackle, touchdown and turnover, the Wyoming Cowboys have become innovators in the sport of football. A partnership with Riddell has seen the pokes take a front seat in advancing player safety. Through sensors inside the helmet, the university now has more data at their disposal on a day-to-day basis.

“I call it a safety net,” said UW’s equipment manager JD Jordan. “It’s not the ‘hey, something’s wrong’, it’s a ‘hey, you may want to check on this guy. Hey, you may want to look at why he’s hitting with the top of his head, or he only hit’s with the right side of his head, or he’s getting hit on the back of his head.’ The abnormality pieces of it where it’s like ‘eh, this isn’t quite right, we need to take a look at it further.’”

Erik Spencer, an assistant athletic trainer at the school, said, “the biggest this is us looking at trends in the data, and being able to take that information and looking at trends of hit locations, number of hits, the magnitude of the hits, and try and help correct form.”

The results of the partnership have had an impact and revealed some interesting findings. These discoveries led to UW’s practices changing and honing in on some of the basics.

“What we have found with the information from Riddell is that maybe one of the most not dangerous but more head engagement is actually when you’re not wearing shoulder pads. That surprises a lot of people and I sat on a lot of our national boards and I presented that information. That allowed us to restructure practices,” said Head Coach Craig Bohl.

The partnership between the university and Riddell has evolved over the years. With more schools around the country learning about the capabilities of helmet technology, the goal of protecting athletes becomes a much more viable aspiration over time.

“College football players are aggressive, they wanna go out and they wanna make big plays. They’re also always concerned, and we take an extra cautious approach as far as managing the amount of high impact hits a player receives. That all goes in to making the game safer,” said Bohl.