Hutt808 logo

What is HuTT808?

HuTT808 is a multi-institutional research project funded by the The GOG Foundation, established by Attorney Gary O. Galiher. The principal investigators are Erik Swartz, PhD, ATC, FNATA of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Nathan Murata, PhD of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The project intends to investigate:

1. head impact exposure in Hawaii high school football players
2. relationship between head impacts and clinical outcomes
3. community awareness and the environment for head safety

Institutions involved are:

University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Education logo, Hawaii Concussion Awareness and Management Program logo, University of Massachusetts Lowell logo, and Children's National Hospital logo


The HuTT808 project is a three-year experimental design to investigate the effect of the HuTT (Helmetless Tackling Training) program on head impact on Hawaiii high school football players.

Experimental design Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Pac-Five Baseline No season
Saint Louis Baseline Modified-Spring Intervention Intervention
Roosevelt No season Baseline Intervention
Kalani Intervention Intervention

Year 1 - Baseline

In year one, two teams (Saint Louis School and Pac-Five) will be fitted with the Riddell Speedflex helmet and Insite impact monitoring system. During this first year, both teams will practice as they usually would without any intervention. Baseline head impact data will be collected.

Year 2 - No season

Year 3 and 4 - HuTT intervention

During year two, a third team (to be determined) will be included. The HuTT program will be introduced and implemented at this time, and all players will undergo a 10-15 minute HuTT period of helmetless tackling drills, two-to-three times per week.

Another branch of this study will investigate the relationship of head impact and clinical outcomes. Players will take a baseline neurocognitive test (which is currently being done) and will take a post-season neurocognitive test. The two tests will investigate any changes and correlated to head impact characteristics.

What is HuTT?

"Taking the head out of contact"

The HuTT program emphasizes proper tackling technique using closely supervised drills where players participate without their helmets and shoulder pads in place. Helmetless tackling training is the element that is inherent to HuTT and reinforces the behavior of tackling without initiating contact to the head. The goal of the contact is to execute proper technique.


Head and Assistant Coaches involved in the HuTT program will be following a prescribed tackling and blocking training program. Coaches will be receiving technical support from HuTT Research Coaches.


Nathan Murata, Ph.D. is the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and a professor and graduate chair of the college's Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science. Since 2007, Murata has coordinated the physical education teacher program, created Pre/K–12 teacher curriculum for majors and completed the first folio report for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. He works closely with graduate students interested in the field and was instrumental in obtaining more than $2.5 million in U.S. Department of Education training grants, and contracts worth $1.2 million from the state Department of Health in collaboration with the state Department of Education.

Dr. Murata promotes teaching as a career to address the critical shortages facing Hawaiʻi schools by integrating research, and collaborative teaching across different disciplines. He is a strong advocate for social justice, diversity of programs and distance education.

Dr. Murata earned his PhD in health, physical education, recreation and dance from Ohio State University. He earned his master's and bachelor's degrees in secondary education and a certificate in special education from UH Mānoa, and taught special education as a Honolulu District physical education teacher. Murata also taught at Saint Louis School and was later hired as director of its athletics department.

Erik Swartz is a professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts – Lowell.

Dr. Swartz's research interest focuses on the prevention and acute care of head and neck injuries in football. He has received grants from The NATA Foundation, NOCSAE, NFL Charities and was a winner of the NineSigma Head Health Challenge. He has published in journals such as The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, Spine, and The American Journal of Sports Medicine. He served on the NFL Head Neck and Spine Committee's Subcommittee on Safety Equipment and Rules and as chair of the NATA Position Statement on the Acute Management of the Cervical Spine Injured Athlete. He serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Athletic Training and the Athletic Training and Sports Health Care Journal. In 2011 he was honored with a Fellows designation in the National Athletic Trainers' Association and in 2015 received the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award, also from the NATA. He received his PhD in Applied Biomechanics at the University of Toledo.

Steven Broglio is a Professor of Kinesiology, Neurology, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr Broglio completed his training at the University of Georgia, took his first faculty position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has been at the University of Michigan since 2011.

At Michigan, Dr. Broglio is the Director of the Michigan Concussion Center and the NeuroTrauma Research Laboratory where he oversees clinical care, educational outreach, and multi-disciplinary research aimed at fundamental questions on concussion prevention, identification, diagnosis, management, and outcomes. His research has been supported by the National Athletic Trainers’ Research and Education Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the Department of Defense. Dr Broglio was awarded the Early Career Investigator Award by the International Brain Injury Association, the Early Career award by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, and Fellowship in the American College of Sports Medicine and National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., is the Division Chief of Neuropsychology and the director of the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children's National Health System. He is a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine. He directs the Neurobehavioral Core research laboratories for Children's National's Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. Additionally, Dr. Gioia currently serves as president of the Sports Neuropsychology Society.

Dr. Gioia treats persons and families with brain injuries with dual areas of interest in disorders involving the executive functions and pediatric concussion/ mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). He has been the Principal Investigator of several multi-site CDC-funded research studies of pediatric mild TBI with a focus on the development of methods/tools for the evaluation of the executive functions and post-concussion neuropsychological functioning. He has developed several smartphone apps, Concussion Recognition & Response and Concussion Assessment and Response (CARE Sport), the Acute Concussion Evaluation (ACE) and ACE Care Plan, a pediatric neurocognitive test for concussion, and post-concussion symptom scales for children and parents. He works closely with the CDC on their "Heads Up" concussion educational programs, as a contributing author to the toolkits.

Dr. Gioia has been an active participant in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 International Concussion in Sport Group Consensus meetings, and was on the American Academy of Neurology Sports Concussion Guideline Author panel. He is the team neuropsychologist for the NHL's Washington Capitals and the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, school systems, and numerous youth sports organizations in the Baltimore-Washington region. He consults with the local and National Governing Organizations of ice hockey, lacrosse, football, rugby and soccer related to concussion management and is on the Medical Advisory Committee for USA Football and the National Advisory Board of the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Jay Myers is a Research Associate and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Dr. Myers has been involved in previous research investigating the effect of helmetless tackling training (HuTT®) to reduce head impact exposure and head injury in youth football players. His interest stems from a research interest in health maintenance, and a multi-disciplined background in sports medicine, exercise science, and nutrition. Dr. Myers completed his PhD and post-doctoral training at the University of New Hampshire.

The HuTT808 project will be utilizing the Riddell Speedflex helmet equipped with the Insite system to measure head impacts.


The purpose of the investigation is to identify ways for reducing head impact exposure in high school football players. Another aim is to gain a better understanding of the neurocognitive effects of repetitive head impacts in football.
Teams were selected to participate in the study due to a combination of factors. Football team stakeholders (school administrators, athletic directors, coaches, athletic training staff) expressed support for the mission of the research and its design. In addition, certain teams were selected because each one offers a uniquely different make-up of players and parent community members.
Your child will be asked to wear a Riddell Speedflex Helmet outfitted with the InSite impact monitoring system. In addition, your child will complete a baseline Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) test at the beginning and end of the season. Further, you give permission for your child's school to provide the investigators access to your child's ImPACT testing results, which are conducted by your child's school. During the playing season and throughout the study, your child's head impacts will be recorded whenever a helmet is required (ie. practices and games). In the second and third year, your child will participate in supervised HuTT drills designed to execute blocking and tackling techniques that remove the head as a point of impact; a program modeled after the sport of rugby where helmets are not worn. Feedback and coaching will be provided immediately to confirm or correct proper technique.
The potential risks of your child participating in this study are minimal. It is observational in nature, and your child is only being asked to wear a head impact monitoring device within required equipment. Your child will also participate at certain times in drills designed to reinforce proper technique when going into contact as during a tackle or block. These drills are completed without helmets and shoulder pads.
The direct benefits of the knowledge gained from participating in this study are expected to be minimal, and neither you nor your child will receive any compensation. There are several indirect benefits. Your child will be issued a new Riddell Speedflex helmet (5 STAR rating, VT) to be used throughout the study. Each helmet will undergo standard reconditioning protocols between seasons as per the manufacturer. In addition, the helmet will be outfitted with the InSite head impact detection system. Finally, your child will be exposed to the HuTT intervention, which may provide beneficial techniques of avoiding head impacts in football.

If the techniques used in this study decrease the number and magnitude of impacts to the head, then participation in football could be safer for all participants if others adopt the technique. This can lead to fewer injuries and lower healthcare costs for the public. Monitoring the potential changes to ImPACT scores may help to better understand any correlations to head impact exposures over time.
Participation in the research study is strictly voluntary.
Both you and your child must separately agree to participate. Parents read/sign a consent form and your child will read/sign an assent form.
Participating in the research study is strictly voluntary and a person can withdraw at any time without penalty. Use of the research helmet and exposure to the research intervention would cease at that point.
Any data collected for the duration of the study is used for research purposes only. Some circumstances may dictate the release of your child's data to you, however the conditions would have to be reviewed by the data safety monitoring committee.
The head impact data is used for research purposes only. The athletic training and medical staff will always have the decision to remove a player from sports play if there is a suspected concussion. They will make these decisions based on their clinical examination and standard procedures for handling a concussion injury.
Participation in the study requires the use the research helmet. Each Speedflex helmet comes assembled with the InSite head impact sensor and all participants would be using a helmet with the same purchase date, helping to maintain research standards and controls.
Having an injury does not necessitate removal from the research study. Data will be collected over the duration of the study regardless of days missed due to injury or absence.
Personal data is kept in digital storage on password protected computer or cloud-based systems. Any print forms of information is kept in locked files in designated locked office space. Head impact data is de-identified. Participant are assigned an alpha-numeric code and the associated data is collected, organized, and stored accordingly. De-identified data will be used in research publication and presentation in aggregate and summary form. As such, there is no way an individual participant will be identified.


Attorney Gary O. Galiher established The GOG Foundation in 2015 as a 501(c)(3) charitable trust to support social issues important to him. For almost 40 years, Gary had an outstanding legal career in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was a pioneer and stalwart advocate passionately working on behalf of vulnerable clients and advocating to improve the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Hawaii. Gary was very grateful for the success he found both personally and professionally in the law. Through his Foundation, he wanted to foster causes that he believed would enhance the lives of the people of Hawaii. A cause that Gary cared deeply about was helping to bring awareness about the devasting effects of head injuries sustained in contact sports and how these could be prevented.

Gary's Understanding of the Impact of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Gary's awareness of the effects of brain injuries began before he attended law school in Hawaii. Gary taught special education for four years in the Haleiwa, Hawaii Elementary School. It was there as a special education teacher that he saw firsthand the ramifications of severe brain injuries and learning problems. Gary's understanding of the issues surrounding Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) was enhanced in 2014 when he undertook the representation of John Wilbur, an American football player who was a victim of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). John Wilbur's CTE diagnosis that devastated his life and his family was attributed to the repetitive impacts he suffered during his NFL career.

Sponsor of the 'Neuro Huddle' Conferences

Gary wanted to do something to make a difference by bringing a greater awareness and understanding of the problems of TBI and CTE to the people of Hawaii. He began by putting together the first annual "Neuro-Huddle" in January 2015, a conference focused on brain injury prevention, treatment and awareness in sports – particularly football and other high contact play. The next year, the GOG Foundation sponsored the Second Annual "Neuro-Huddle" and added a "CTE Conference" where leaders in the fields of neurology and sports medicine presented the latest information on CTE. Gary's goal was to educate the people of Hawaii about the serious brain injuries caused by the concussive and sub-concussive impacts incurred during sports, and about ways to make sports safer.

Gary Learned of the 'HuTT' Initiative

In searching for speakers for the 2016 CTE conference, Gary became aware of the work being done in New Hampshire by Erik Swartz to reduce head impacts in football and asked Erik to be a presenter at the conference. At the time he spoke, Erik was spearheading two separate helmetless tackling training programs, the "HuTT" initiatives. Erik's presentation included background information and preliminary findings of the "HuTT" helmetless tackling training programs at the University of New Hampshire and at four local high schools. Gary was impressed by the work Erik was doing and began thinking about whether such a program could be brought to Hawaii.

The GOG Foundation Supports the HuTT808 Initiative in Hawaii

Unfortunately, before he could make that idea a reality, Gary died tragically in a helicopter crash in November 2016. But after his death, Gary's Foundation has moved forward to fulfill the purposes Gary had originally designated. One of the express purposes of the GOG Foundation is:

Bringing awareness and education to the people of Hawaii regarding traumatic brain injuries (TBI), Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and neuro-trauma injuries, including information as to the causes, methods of prevention, and cutting-edge treatments to care for and rehabilitate those who suffer from such injuries, including medical and scientific seminars featuring national experts in these areas.

Knowing about Erik and the work he was doing, the GOG Foundation reached out to him to see whether a "HuTT" program could be implemented in Hawaii to help reduce head impacts in high school football players. Erik, along with representatives from the University of Hawaii's Kinesiology Department, developed the "HuTT808" research project. The GOG Foundation is providing all the funding for the three-year "HuTT808 project."


Hawaii Concussion Awareness & Management Program
University of Hawaii at Manoa
College of Education
PE/Athletic Complex, 2nd floor 1337 Lower Campus Road Honolulu, HI 96822