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Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015: Technology front and center on the field

   Leading off today: An exchange of emails with a reader of this site reminded me this morning just how awful I am when it comes to MySQL, PHP and other techno-whichamacallits. Thankfully, the high school sports world is quite a bit more savvy than I when it come to gizmos.

   A few recent examples:

   Helmet safety: reported recently on the use of Guardian Caps during practices at Xaverian High. The Clippers reached Catholic High School Football League Class A finals the past two years, but Xaverian made it that far in 2014 with just 16 active players late in the season.

   Coach Mike Jioia lost a number of players to concussions, including two early on who had to sit out the remainder of the season. The concept behind Gardian Caps' soft urethane shells is to dissipate the force from helmet-to-helmet contact and other blows to the head.

   The firm's website warns that no device can prevent or eliminate the risk of concussions and that there's a lack of definitive research as to how much these impact-absorption devices help. Still, it stands to reason that cushioned blows to the head are probably better for players safety than the alternative.

   Wearable technology: Middletown High School began testing the Vector MouthGuard manufactured by i1 Biometrics in 2013. The school district announced this month that the partnership is continuing with "ESP Chip Technology to measure the linear and rotational accelerations of head impacts during practice and games."

   That's a fancy way of saying head-injury monitoring. The mouth guard contains an accelerometer and a gyroscope, allowing the speed and head movement involved in collisions to be quantified.

   The district says Middletown is the first high school in the state to use the Vector MouthGuard and is going the extra step of using wireless sideline monitoring that can alert athletic trainers and doctors that a player has either taken a major blow to the head or has taken enough smaller blows over the course of the game to warrant checking him out.

   Instant video feedback: The Journal News reported recently that the CHSFL has passed a rule that expands the permissible uses of sideline and that defending Class AAA champ Archbishop Stepinac jumped right in by employing technology that sends instant replays from video cameras directly to a tablet via wireless technology.

   "When you bring your team to the bench, you can quickly and easily show them the last set of downs -- where opponents are lining up, where blitzes are coming from," Coach Mike O'Donnell said. "Coaches can get instant information on what is happening on the field. Normally, they would rely on what they saw or the coaches in the booth."

   Breakthrough: Hadley-Luzerne broke a 16-game losing streak in girls soccer with a 1-0 win over Whitehall on Tuesday. It was H-L's first win since late in the 2013 season.

   Hailey Harris scored in the second half, and Maya Parsons made four saves for the shutout. football site

   Poughkeepsie update: Parents of Poughkeepsie football players met with Superintendent Nicole Williams on Tuesday in an unsuccessful bid to get her to reconsider the decision to forfeit Friday's scheduled game against Saugerties.

   "No change," coach Jerry North texted to Hudson Valley Sports Report after the meeting.

   Port Jervis coach dies: Luann McCarthy, who had coached the girls tennis team since 1984 and the boys since 2005 at Port Jervis, died Sunday from breast cancer. She was 57.

   McCarthy served as the Section 9 boys tennis co-chairperson for the past five years and also coached girls basketball at all levels for many years.

   "Luann was a very courageous, community-minded, generous and considerate person," Port Jervis AD Ron Semerano said. "She coached at least two sports, sometimes three, every year for 30 years. She was just very involved.”

   Rankings progress: Week 1 of our state rankings in fall sports is now complete with tonight's release of the boys cross country ratings. Fayetteville-Manlius (Class A), Pittsford Mendon (B), Mount Academy (C) and Maple Grove (D) start off at No. 1.

   All of out weekly ratings can by found on our rankings home page.

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