How safe are football helmets at area schools?

toni.miil69 Blog

RSW Florida May 21, 2011

A rating system of football helmets was released earlier this month by Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University that is based on the helmet’s ability to reduce the risk of concussions.

Locally, it’s been discovered that schools in Southwest Florida are using some of the top models.

Charlotte High School athletic director Brian Nolan says he buys about 15 new helmets each year due to a reconditioning process.

“They’re tested, they’re inspected, the hardware is removed,” he says.

Every helmet for every team in Southwest Florida is sent in for tests.

“There may be damage to a helmet at the end of the season that may not be obvious,” says Collier County Interscholastic Athletics Coordinator, Joe Kemper.

Even shoulder pads are sent in every other year as wear and tear calls for.

The Virginia Tech-Wake Forest study tested ten different models.

Most Collier schools use four or five star helmets, although a select few schools have one star helmets because they have not been used since being purchased.

A Lee County School District spokesperson says Lee schools use only four or five-star Riddell helmets.

Of course, coaches and athletic directors are quick to point out without proper technique, the research falls by the wayside. If a student leads with his head, a five-star helmet won’t help.

“This is a collision sport and people are going fast and if you have proper headgear, with proper coaching, learning proper techniques, your kids are going to be safe,” says Nolan.