October 14, 2019
On third down, I called the next play to my team in the huddle. “Ready” “Break” the team replied we ran to the line.
The defense of line looked furious, “DOWN, READY, SET GO!” The ball snapped, I looked up to pass but in no time the SEAS defensive player was running right me.
The defensive players head came in contact with my head. I went down to the ground. Another defensive player came in for his back up.
I hit the ground. When I got up, my throat was hurting really bad from our heads colliding.
There have been as many 67,000 concussions in a single high school football year nationwide, and almost 3 million football players between the ages of seven and 14 have had a concussion, according to the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Illustrated. In 2017 alone, there were 281 concussions. But the number of concussions went down dramatically the very next year — just 67. The reason? New technology designed intentionally to better prevent concussions.
Riddell came out with one of their best products, a helmet called the Speed Flex. Riddell found out that most of the hits to the head come to the forehead so they designed the Speed Flex with a U shape in the front that flexes in when that spot is hit to absorb the impact. It is not cheap though, costing between $200 and $500. I recently switched to the Speed Flex, but my parents had to buy it for me. The East seventh grade players use the Riddell helmets from two generations ago, called the Revolution. The eighth graders use the Riddell Speed helmets, which is the model released before the Speed Flex.
“I think equipment is old, and the helmets are roughly safe but they can be safer,” said seventh grader Nich Vannes. “The helmets give me bad headaches, I think we can invest more into our equipment to try to keep us as safe as possible.”
The Revolution helmets were released almost 20 years ago. Vannes’ helmet says it was released in 2009.
“I really don’t like how you can look into the helmet and see the label “made in 2009,” Vannes said. .”It makes me feel like it is not going to protect me from big hits. I would feel more protected with the helmets that the pros wear.”
Scotty Goodwin, seventh grader, also ended up switching to the Speedflex this season.
“I switched helmets to give me more protection from the hits,” Goodwin said. “My new helmet is tighter on my head and makes me feel like I’m protected. The school’s helmets look really beat up, and seem like they aren’t going to protect us.”
“I used a pretty big amount of money on that helmet.” Says coach Goowwin “To keep my child’s head safe. I want to do that for all of the kids, but it is too much money. That’s why I would like to do a fundraiser to raise money for better equipment.”