Got helmets?

Jamie Calnan, News Editor

There are many key components involved in staying safe on the football field. Brand, size and fit of a helmet can be crucial to a player’s safety.

“The fit is vital because you don’t want a helmet, first of all, that’s too small because that’s going to cause problems outside of the game with headaches, with marks on their head, that kind of thing. And obviously if a helmet is too loose, then it’s going to move around during contact, and that’s more dangerous than it needs to be,” Athletic Director Mike Joyner said.

Every player having a proper fitting helmet is a top priority for coaches.

“If we have a kid who doesn’t have a proper helmet, we make sure that we find a helmet for him, either through purchasing a new one or shifting some around and making sure everybody’s fits properly,” Joyner said.

Athletic Trainer Rick Baker uses an interesting analogy to educate his classes and players about concussions.

“I use an egg as an example. The shell of the egg is your skull, and the yolk is your brain. If you toss it around, the shell is not broken, but your ‘brain’ is still tossed around,” Baker said.

Every helmet used must be certified by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) and abide by their standards.

“You have a 10-year window with a helmet, so once it’s been in service for 10 years, it has to be discarded,” Joyner said.

Virginia Tech recently released a study on adult safety helmets using their STAR Methodology system.
Our helmet, the Riddell Revolution Speed, is in the 5 Star: Best Available category.

“The Virginia Tech study is just one of the studies that’s out there on helmets,” Joyner said. “As long as we’re in compliance with the NOCSAE standard and all of our helmets are reconditioned every year, then we feel like we’re in compliance and that we have our kids fully protected, or as protected as well as we can.”

Joyner believes that helmets are important in preventing concussions, but tackling techniques are key.

“I think that proper tackling techniques have been a big emphasis for us. All of our coaches are certified in the NFL Heads-Up football program. So to prevent head injuries and neck injuries, proper training is key as well as having the proper equipment and proper training,” Joyner said.

Baker feels the training for coaches has been valuable.

“I think the changes in the rules and regulations of football have made a huge impact in concussions and neck injuries,” Baker said.

Coaches and trainers cannot be the only ones involved in preventing injuries.

“The players need to have the responsibility, and they are told this, that they need to check for the fit each and every day, not just on a weekly basis,” Baker said. “There is a dynamic of the helmet in the Revolution Speed that you can pump air into it to make it more of a snug and proper fit. So it is a player’s responsibility and they are told this, that if there are any changes in the fit of their helmet, such as if they get a shorter haircut, it changes the dynamics of the helmet. So they need to let someone know.”