Football safety: How vulnerable are student athlete's helmets? - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Football safety: How vulnerable are student athlete's helmets?

(Source: Xenith) (Source: Xenith)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Football is a contact sport, which is why the helmets players use are so important.

"If there's some equipment we're even just a little suspect about, we'll pull that equipment. It's just not worth it for the student athlete to go through injuries that could have been prevented," said Glenville Assistant Football Coach Frank Stretar.

Glenville High School's head football coach Ted Ginn says plays need to be properly fitted.

"You have to have safety first before you can play," he said. “Every time I see a kid get hit or make a hit and it looks like it was a pretty tough hit, I pay a lot of attention to it because now we know about concussions and all those different things like that.”

At Glenville, every single football helmet gets inspected before the players put them on. The ones that don't pass the test get a sticker. 

"They actually put it through a stress test to make sure the plastic has the integrity to do what it says it is going to do," said Stretar. 

It's vital helmets stand up to the test, which is why Xenith voluntarily recalled more than 5,000 football helmets this week. Though no one has been hurt, the company said Xenith Epic Varsity, X2 Varsity, and X2E Varsity helmets could crack. Glenville doesn't use Xenith helmets, but they do make sure the gear is up to par.

"A lot of the blow comes to the front. We don't see a lot of concussions there. It still could happen, but that's where a lot of the strength of the helmet is," said Stretar. 

However, there are parts of the helmet that aren't as strong as the front, which makes the players more susceptible to concussions.

"What we find is that when a student athlete gets hit in the back of the helmet, that's what causes the concussion. A lot of times we'll see a knee, sometimes a knee to the side of the head. that causes the concussion," said Stretar.

On top of better gear, coaching has also changed. Players no longer are taught to tackle with their heads, these days they use their shoulders and thighs.

Cleveland 19 News checked around Northeast Ohio to see if local schools used recalled Xenith helmets.

Tap here for a map listing the schools that have responded to our request

There are several schools that indicated they have Xenith helmets, but they are not the recalled editions.

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