From The Enterprise (Article)
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BROCKTON – Concerned parents can take comfort in knowing the city’s youth football league is taking steps to prevent concussions in kids.
When the Brockton Junior Boxers Pop Warner Youth Football players take the field this season, they’ll be sporting new concussion-safe helmets.
Each player took home a newly purchased “top-of-the-line,” and “top-rated” Xenith helmet on Friday, said Miguel Oliva, president of the program’s board of directors.
The helmets were designed using technology intended to help protect against concussions.
“The new helmets are made of material more resistant to keep their heads stable as far as impact,” Oliva said. “They have an adjustable chin strap designed in the helmet to fit the kids’ head better and give them more stability.”
Oliva said many parents have begun to express concern about concussion, after several recent studies began linking football to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, sparking a national conversation about the safety of the sport.
That’s why this year, rather than reconditioning the old helmets to meet Pop Warner safety standards, the league made the decision to purchase new, safer helmets for all 185 kids, aged five to 15, enrolled in the program.
“Rather than spend to recondition helmets – at times we’ve spent $7000 – we decided we might as well get brand new helmets,” Oliva said.
The league purchased 196 new helmets for about $23,000, Oliva said.
Oliva said additional fundraising will be necessary to finish paying off the remaining $15,000 owed. The league began a GoFundMe page to ask for donations.
Parents of the players have been supportive of the initiative, Oliva said, and helped with much of the fundraising.
“They’re ecstatic about [the new helmets],” Oliva said. “They’re very supportive of us. A lot of them have started volunteering with the fundraising.”
The safety of the players is a first priority, Oliva said, and he is sure to communicate that to the parents.
“I tell all my parents: we get all the same training as the NFL,” Oliva said. “We teach football the right way, the safe way.”
Shannon Gallagher may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.