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AT&T’s 5G-Connected Football Helmet For Deaf Athletes Makes Debut In Gallaudet University Game



A new 5G-connected football helmet that allows student athletes who are deaf or hard of hearing to receive plays on a digital display will be used for the first time in an NCAA Division III game on Saturday.
Gallaudet University, a global leader in providing bilingual education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Washington, D.C., partnered with AT&T to develop the new helmet, enhancing on-field communication for student athletes who use American Sign Language.
The new helmet’s 5G technology allows coaches to select a play on a tablet and send it to a lens within the visor. The quarterback wearing the helmet will see the play on a digital display in augmented reality. According to AT&T, the 5G technology’s low latency allows plays to be sent and received at a speed that keeps pace with the game.
The 5G helmet will be used for the first time in NCAA Division III competition during Gallaudets home game against Hilbert College on Oct. 7 at 12 p.m. ET.
“We work out the same way as every other college football program, we practice the same way, we compete the same way,” Gallaudet Head Football Coach Chuck Goldstein said in a statement. “The difference between coaching a hearing team compared to a Deaf team is first the communication. The AT&T 5G-connected helmet will change football.”
Many of Gallaudet’s college football players also played the sport in high school, despite the communication difficulties, and could see their gameplay reach new heights thanks to the technology.
“The new AT&T 5G-connected helmet will have a major impact on the game of football, especially for our deaf and hard of hearing players who lacked direct access to communications with their coaches during their high school years,” said Shelby Bean, special teams coordinator and former player for Gallaudet University. “This will help to level the playing field for mainstreamed athletes. As a former player, I am very excited to see this innovative technology change our lives and the game of football itself.”
The technology could be used for any sport that uses helmets. Beyond sports, it could be used in any profession or activity that requires a helmet, such as for construction workers or first responders, potentially broadening job prospects for those in the Deaf community.
Well continue to work with partners to explore how this technology and software can be more widely adopted and create meaningful change, both in sports and beyond, AT&T said in a statement.
“Together with Gallaudet, we are proving that connecting changes everything,” said Corey Anthony, senior vice president of network engineering and operations at AT&T. “Our expertise in connectivity combined with Gallaudet’s legacy of breaking down barriers has created a helmet that not only transforms the way deaf and hard of hearing athletes engage in sports but opened up endless possibility for innovation.”
In gratitude for their collaboration, AT&T said it is donating $500,000 to the Gallaudet University football program, and giving every player a new helmet.
TMX contributed to this article.