Football team acquires new helmets

Parents get involved to promote player saftey


Photo Connor Lawless

Football team practices in new VICIS helmets.

Liza Armstrong, Sports Editor

The football team received new VICIS helmets this offseason, with help from the football boosters in order to improve player safety.     

“We have older helmets in our inventory that will be expired based on their ten year lifespan,” head coach Taylor Allen said.  “It is a perfect time to start bringing in new helmets…We had an overwhelming inquiry from parents [after a presentation at a June player-parent meeting] on how they can bring in the helmet for their child to use during their time in the program.”

The helmets consist of new technology for better protection.

“The VICIS [helmet] is essentially designed based on car collisions and how they use protective layers to help reduce acceleration throughout the impact,” Allen said. “With this theory in mind, the VICIS, the car, uses it’s layered design to further protect the athletes head, the passenger. This helmet provides that protection all the way around the head with it’s highlighted features of the flexible shell and reflexive binding columns. It also has form fitting layers to fit the athlete 360 degrees around.”

In addition to helmets, the boosters club also purchased shoulder pads as both types of equipment have an expiration date set by the CDC to make sure the equipment protects due to wear and tear from past seasons; in both cases, parent involvement played a role in obtaining the equipment.

“The initiative to bring in the most technologically advanced helmets was inspired by one parent who was interested in purchasing the helmet for his son,” president of the football boosters Jodi Del Re said.  “He wondered if others would be interested in also purchasing the helmet…So I just posed the question, ‘who wants to help?’ In three days we raised enough to bring in thirty helmets.”

Many of these safety measurements are MIAA standard.  All coaches, athletic directors, and trainers must complete a concussion course and an ambulance and AED must be at every football game.  Practices are also only allowed 60 minutes of player to player contact in weeks with a game. They can be 90 minutes if there is no game.

According to athletic director Mike Morcino, all coaches are trained in CPR and First Aid as well as completing courses in concussion awareness and heat concern.

According to Allen, the biggest concern parents and players have about safety is that the Dick Walsh field is grass, not turf.

“The one thing every athlete shares during a game or practice is the playing surface,” Allen said.  “Dick Walsh Field is one of the few fields in CMass that’s still grass…The truth is that we have one of the best grass fields in CMass, mainly due to the attention and care from our grounds crew.  The issue is with grass is trying to keep up with the wear and tear throughout the course of the season,”

Players and parents feel that the coaches have their best interest in mind.

“Our coaches always puts the safety of players first with not only our equipment, but the way we train and practice,” sophomore Rio Ferguson said.  “The coaches ensure that we have the safest and best gear possible available to us and provide everything we need to be a successful program.”

“Kids have been playing football for a long time,” parent Jay Ferguson said.  “Just like in everything you minimize the risk through training and equipment.  The only thing that worries me is that the kids won’t say anything when they should for fear of not getting to play when they report even the most minor symptoms.”  

Overall, the team is looking towards the future as they try to keep safety in the forefront of their mind.

“Unlike past years, I believe that every one of our players is 100% on board with what the coaches have planned, and I strongly believe that we will make it to the playoffs this season,” senior Sam Crain said.