Some helmet makers still not sold on concussion ratings system
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Football concussions have been a hot button topic this season. A WAVE 3 News Troubleshooter Investigation led to sweeping changes to player safety in Jefferson County Public Schools.
This week the conversation continues as thousands of football coaches from around the country converge on downtown Louisville.
The biggest helmet makers in the sport market the new designs because so many school districts around the nation, including JCPS, believe in the research behind them. But there is still some debate about whether new, high tech helmets can really reduce concussion risk.
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Thousands of football coaches are in town for the American Football Coaches Association conference at the Kentucky International Convention Center. Many of them are talking about ways to cut the number of concussions suffered by their players on the field.
In the main exhibit hall, manufacturers like Schutt Sports how off helmets rated 5 stars in the Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Ratings System. It measures how well a helmet prevents concussions.
Director of Communications for Schutt Sports Glenn Beckmann said the company don't necessarily agree that the extra padding required to get that five star rating does a better job in the most violent collisions. But so many school districts around the country have adopted the Virginia Tech ratings, Schutt found out fighting it, was bad for business.
"We have to be able to bring a five star helmet to the table," Beckmann said. "Many of our customers on a bidding process will require us to bid a five star helmet. And so we created the two best, up until recently, the two best scoring helmets in Virginia Tech Star System history, just so we could have as an entrance into certain customers."
In November Norton Healthcare announced a $150,000 grant to Jefferson County Public Schools to combat and treat concussions after a WAVE 3 News Troubleshooter Investigation found: 235 football helmets being used by JCPS teams, scored low in the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings System.
All those helmets have been pulled out of the locker rooms, and will be replaced by helmets that rate 4 and 5 stars before the start of next season.
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