Documentary Production and Distribution News
Head injuries in youth and high school football pose daunting challenges, ones that sensational media coverage has many parents believing are insurmountable. Add in a culture resistant to change, too many coaches still teaching players to block and tackle using their heads, and players unwilling to report concussions, parents are left wondering what can be done to improve safety.
Now, with Brain Injury Awareness Month last month and Youth Sports Safety Month beginning this month, comes The Smartest Team™, an hour-long documentary designed to help football programs and athletes play safer and smarter.
Produced and directed by visionary youth sports parenting expert and author, Brooke de Lench, The Smartest Team documents how de Lench worked with a high school in rural Oklahoma to address the challenges concussions pose in football.
One of those challenges is the ability for early identification of head impacts and injuries. i1 Biometrics plays an important role in The Smartest Team’s Early Identification Pillar; in which, detection of every impact, especially those leading to potential injury, can be measured, captured and stored for monitoring purposes. Three of the Oklahoma athletes traveled to Connecticut where they were introduced to the new i1 Biometrics Impact Intelligence Mouthguard which determines the strength of impacts sustained on the field of play. i1 Biometrics provided the athletes with sensored mouthguards so a complete view of what is happening inside the head is possible. From there, the sideline medical personnel can make a better, more thorough decision based off of accurate and objective impact data.
The Smartest Team begins where other concussion documentaries leave off, not simply identifying the risks of long-term brain injury in football but offering youth and high school programs across the country specific ways to minimize those risks, through a focus on what de Lench calls the “Six Pillars™” of a comprehensive concussion risk management program:
Through candid interviews of parents, players, the Newcastle High athletic trainer and team doctor, equipment manufacturers, and leading concussion experts, The Smartest Team acknowledges the serious challenge concussions pose while showing in easy-to-understand terms how high school football programs can improve player safety.
“This was my first documentary, but I couldn’t be more pleased with result,” says de Lench. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the entire Newcastle community, from the school superintendant to the athletic director and head football coach, from the athletic trainer to the parents and the athletes. I think the film shows what can happen when all stakeholders, especially moms, work together as a team to make the sport of football safer, not just for their kids but for all kids. More broadly, The Smartest Team shows how we can not only preserve but strengthen youth and high school football, which play such an important part of the life of so many communities across America.”
“It was important for i1 Biometrics to participate in the documentary because we believe that the head injury epidemic is not a problem that belongs to any one person or any one group. This is a social issue and a social problem,” says i1 Biometrics CEO Lawrence Calcano. “We believe that there is no big problem that ever gets solved in the absence of information and that more data is always better than no data,” he says. “i1 Biometrics is committed to focusing on the head impact epidemic and working in a collaborative fashion to try to craft solutions to making sports safer.”