Protective Gear That Isn’t So Protective


New Football Helmet

In the last three years alone there have been 20 head injury related deaths directly linked to high school football. The big question is if helmets really protect your head from injury.

In an article from CNN, Kevin Guskiewicz, co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina, said, “The developing brains of high school athletes are more vulnerable to catastrophic head injuries.” This makes sense due to the fact that the brain is made out a soft tissue, and when you sustain a hit to the head, the impact can jolt your brain.  

Some cases involve smashing in the skull. These head injuries are worse for younger kids and teens to obtain because their brains are not fully developed. Their brains are not being fully developed which gives them a greater chance of getting a brain damage. The problem today is that too many teens are getting seriously hurt or even worse, dying. This is due to the lack of protection of the brain. If you think about it a hit to the head can be compared to a car accident. When a car hits something else, anything that is loose inside the car keeps the same speed the car was going until it hits something. This is what occurs when someone gets hit in the head.

When the initial hit occurs, the helmet and the skull can be stopped, but the brain inside still is receiving the impact. Sometimes, people don’t even notice that they have a concussion or head injury. Also shared in the same CNN article, “Making matters worse, nearly 70% of high school football athletes with concussions played despite their symptoms, and 40% reported that their coaches didn’t know of the injury.”  If all of these high school athletes are getting injured and dying, why isn’t anything being done to protect these athletes further?

Matthew Naeger

A concussion prone athlete, Matthew Naeger, stated that, “I have had two official concussions”. Which he then followed by stating, “which were both football related.” Should football be removed from being a high school sport, or should the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) change the rules of how high school football should be played? Due to the head related injuries, “A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first -usually within a short period of time- can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long term problems,” stated in article. This fact makes proves that student-athletes could struggle in school due to their injuries.

So importantly, the helmet is the key to protecting your knowledge. At Ipswich High School, that seems to be a high priority, keeping athletes safe while playing sports. Three years ago, the IHS football team received new helmets. Matthew Naeger claimed that “[The helmets] are made specially for [protecting against] concussions.” Getting new helmets at IHS makes the chance of getting a head injury even less, but the chance is still there. Following, Matt proclaimed that the reason that head injuries happen so often in high school and youth football is because “Athletes go head first into each other too much,” which means that athletes should be taught how to protect their head from being hit, instead of relying on the helmet to do the protecting for them.