“It’s a dream come true:” Football player’s revolutionary ‘Shockbox’ sensor helps prevent concussions

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Making the game of football safer has been a hot topic in the NFL, and trickling all the way down to youth leagues. Now a local school -- one of the only ten in the country, has a revolutionary new tool meant to prevent concussions -- called "Shockbox."

"It's a dream come true," said Nic Kelly, St. Thomas More Assistant Coach.

For Kelly, being an assistant football coach at St. Thomas More High School is something that goes hand in hand with being a teacher.

"Being able to be around these kids, teaching them the fundamentals of the game is something I really appreciate and really cherish," said Kelly.

But along with the love of the kids and the game they play, comes a harsh reality.

"We've lost very key players to concussions. We've had kids come to us and complain about symptoms in which we were not able to assess or see right away because they did not come to us," said Kelly.

That prompted the 6th year coach to enter a contest online.

"Progressive Insurance put up a challenge to submit an essay to be able to receive Shockbox helmet sensors. You could receive a grant to get helmet sensor that could act as a sensor to alert a coach, or a therapist, or a school trainer that a student might have received a hit that could result in a concussion," said Kelly.

Kelly's essay was chosen as only 1 of 10 winners across the country which means St. Thomas More will receive nearly a dozen Shockbox helmet sensors.

"As soon as they take a hit to the helmet, up to a certain reading, it will actually alert me on my cell phone that will tell me the student's name. It gives me the ability to assess what may have happened in terms of receiving dizziness, if they have loss of vision, are they stable, are they shaky," said Kelly.

1st year Head Coach, Chris Roggeman is ecstatic that some of his players will be able to have this new tool.

"It takes a lot of the liability off of me and it puts the kids in a safer, you know it puts them in a safer environment," said Roggeman.

Players, like TJ Koenig, are also happy to have the Shockbox sensors in their helmets.

"I mean it's a violent game out there. This is just going to help us that much more," said Koenig.

While the sensors can't diagnose or prevent a concussion, they do allow for more awareness of the possibility of a head injury to a player. Which is why everyone on the St. Thomas More team is thankful they're here.

"Hopefully I don't have to use it (laughs). We're going to see how they work and hopefully next year we'll get some more for the rest of the players," said Roggeman.

"We're doing whatever we can to make sure that they're safe," said Kelly.

St. Thomas More's goal is to eventually have everyone on the team with sensors in their helmet.