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ADDISON - The varsity football players at Trinity Christian Academy say getting hit hard on the field is part of the game.

Serious injury is something Graham Hill, one of the Trinity Trojans, said he never expected until it crept up on him.

'I've had one concussion playing football,' Hill said. The senior offensive tackle said he suffered the head injury during a game last year. 'It was pretty bad.'

The injury, which left Hill physically impaired with headaches and other symptoms for weeks, was a bad situation for his entire football team.

Reducing the risk of concussions and brain injuries are, in part, why the Trojans' trainers and coaches are trying out some new devices on the players this season.

Accelerometers sensors that detect acceleration are being placed on the players' temples and necks to determine how the athletes' heads move in relation to the body during impacts.

'We think when your head rotates fast; that might be what's causing some of these concussions and injuries,' said Dr. Robert Rennaker, director of the Biomedical Device Center at the University of Texas at Dallas. 'That's what we're trying to do with this device.'

Rennaker and researchers from Texas Instruments developed the newly-designed sensors.

'It feels good,' said student athlete Marshall Reed as he tried on the device under his helmet. 'It just feels like I'm wearing my helmet.'

Rennaker and Texas Instruments say data from the entire team will be collected and monitored during games. The findings will indicate which player may need to sit out after taking a risky blow.

Rennaker said special goggles a neuro-triage device will then be used to determine how serious the level of injury may be.

'We can tell him if his reaction time is slower,' Rennaker explained. 'We can tell him if his pupils dilate and constrict slightly different, and that will give us some information on how his brain is actually functioning.'

The developers say the device is currently being tested at campuses in DeSoto, Trinity Christian Academy, Episcopal School of Dallas, Parish Episcopal, the University of Iowa, and the University of Virginia.

The designers say the new sensors are all about collecting data to help keep athletes safe. The players at Trinity Christian Academy say they are willing to give the device a shot.

E-mail dfernandez@wfaa.com

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