The Lincoln High School football team got a surprise visit from the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday at practice. They were the grand prize winner in a concussion survey contest which gives the team the latest technology in the fight against concussions.
"You put on the pads, you're facing the risk no matter what, and when you step on the field, you're going to take the risk," Lincoln Patriots running back Caden Quintanilla said.
It's a danger that exists on every level in the game of football, the danger that you can get seriously hurt.
This type of sport gets more news toward it because it's a collision sport, it's a violent sport," Lincoln Patriots head coach Aaron Beaver said.
The biggest topic of discussion in football now involves concussions and head injuries.
"I've seen them miss months of school, get really behind and have some problems with that, but they eventually get better," Quintanilla said.
Players at every level accept the risk.
"All of a sudden the lights kind of came back on and I'm panicked. What happened? Because 21 points have scored and it's in the 3rd quarter and the last thing I remember was a couple minutes into the 1st quarter," Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart said.
Lincoln High School is now ahead of the curve when it comes to concussion prevention. Thanks to Sanford Health and the Minnesota Vikings, they have a new tool called X2-ICE. It's an iPad app that tracks a player's individual history, keeping coaches even more informed and allowing them to make the right decisions about player safety. Every team in the NFL uses this app, and now they wish they had it sooner.
"Maybe I would've been diagnosed with more concussions if we had technology like this. It's important for people to track a history of it, to see if there's ongoing symptoms," Gerhart said.
"It's important, I think, to have that awareness. Knowing all the possibilities," Quintanilla said.
It's just one more step in a continuous fight to keep player safety the top priority.
"Between the impact tests that they give every kid now to being able to go back and use that data, they've just come a long ways, and I'm sure they'll continue to work toward even better plans," Beaver said.
Lincoln was not the only school in KELOLAND to receive the new app. Roosevelt in Sioux Falls will get an iPad with X2-ICE, as will Watertown.