Football season has already kicked off. Whether you scream at the TV for your Denver Broncos on Sundays, or cheer on the sidelines of your child’s football games, it’s easy to get emotionally invested in one of America’s favorite sports. Football has become as much of a fall tradition as pumpkin spice.
However, it’s no secret that football can also be dangerous. Recent research on the immediate and long-term effects of youth concussions has increased the awareness of parents and coaches. A shocking study by the University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University found that youth football had a higher overall concussion rate than high school or college
football. The main mechanism for injury was helmet-to-helmet contact.
There are a few ways to reduce your child’s chances of head injuries during football, like teaching them to be careful when tackling, and making sure their coaches integrate safe play into their practices and games.
At the end of the day, kids are still learning the sport. They will make some dangerous hits along the way, so the best way to protect them is with proper helmets. In August, football helmet brand Xenith recalled helmets because “shells of the football helmets can crack, posing a risk of head injuries to football players.”
No injuries were reported, but Xenith received 29 cases of helmets cracking. The recall covered 5,900 varsity and youth football helmets that were sold between May 2015 until March 2016. The list of applicable serial numbers of helmets that are being recalled is
available on their website.
Football players wearing poorly manufactured or recalled helmets are more prone to head injuries. That’s why high school coaches and school boards are starting to require five-star helmets for their players’ safety, leading manufacturers to create safer helmets that meet this standard.
To check if your child’s football helmet is as safe as it can be, look for these features:
- Find out your helmet’s ratings based on the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings. Five-star helmets are the highest rated and will protect your child best, based on their system.
- Look for a seal that says “Meets NOCSAE Standards” (the acronym stands for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment). This seal sets the standard for safe football helmets, and it’s typically found on the back of helmets.
- Use cloth measuring tape to find your child’s head circumference. Position the tape an inch above the eyebrows to get an accurate measurement. If your child is between sizes, select the smaller size. The front edge should be an inch higher than the eyebrows. Note that altering the helmet’s fit by adding extra padding negates the NOCSAE safety seal.
- Check the fit on your child to make sure it is tight, but comfortable. It should be tighter than a bike helmet, and shouldn’t slide excessively. Make sure someone experienced in fitting helmets tests the fit through a careful testing system. There are several factors that those who are not experienced in fitting helmets will not know; for example, you want to fit the helmet before securing the chinstrap to make sure it’s not depending on the strap to tighten
or be secure.
- If a helmet is uncomfortable or doesn’t fit right, try a different model. The variety of helmet models are designed to fit different heads.
- Replace football helmets after 10 years of usage, or sooner if it’s worn out. Consistently check the helmets for damage.
There is no concussion-proof helmet, but by carefully choosing and fitting the helmet that will best protect your child, you’ll decrease the chances of injury.
If your child was injured in football and you think defective or recalled helmets might be the cause, contact Bachus & Schanker, a personal injury lawyer in Colorado. The long-term well being of your child is your first priority, and we understand that. Consult with a Colorado personal injury lawyer for any football safety or recall questions that can improve the health of your football players.