Before the Story Airs: Football helmet safety

Posted July 15, 2014

Hey that's my helmet! Fuquay-Varina visits Riverside High School in Durham. Fuquay-Varina takes the victory in a close match-up 22-20. Photo by CHRIS BAIRD

— Football season is just weeks away. Concussion awareness is higher than ever. The NFL faces a player lawsuit over the long term impact of blunt force trauma in football. Youth and high school football teams are more focused on identifying concussions than ever before.

Understandably, football helmets are getting greater scrutiny because they’re the first line of defense from head injuries. Technology has changed significantly in recent years to better protect players. Researchers at Virginia Tech put helmets on the market through a battery of tests and compiled a star rating system for safety. Armed with that information, WRAL Investigates reached out to every high school in North Carolina to find out what helmets they put on the heads of student athletes. We also found a debate over testing standards for helmets and the reconditioning process for schools that have limited budgets.

Helmets are only part of the safety equation when it comes to preventing head injuries. Fit and tackling techniques are also critical. Wednesday at 5:30, WRAL Investigates will help parents and players make better informed decisions to reduce injuries in a violent sport.

Thousands of kids will strap on a helmet. We think you should know if it will protect them.


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