Arlington buys safer helmets for high school football players

Arlington County's high school football players will have new helmets this year, purchased to mitigate the risk of head injuries and concussions.

Officials announced the new helmets in a letter to parents this week, and said they are part of a “comprehensive concussion management plan” the district has adopted.

“As with any activity, student safety is our top priority,” the letter said. “We are very pleased to let our APS families and players know...that we will be providing the ‘best available’ helmets for all Arlington high school players,” the letter said.

Head injury is a growing concern in high school sports programs and beyond as the long term risks of concussions become more widely understood.

Loudoun County recently considered a proposal to install sensors on football helmets at Loudoun Valley High School that would signal when the helmet took a hit. They turned it down, citing limited testing on the sensors and other concerns.

The staff selected helmets that received a 5-star rating out of five stars on an evaluation system developed by Virginia Tech University.

The school system ordered just over 300 helmets at a cost of $68,000, officials said.

The district is also hosting a presentation about concussions on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Wakefield High School auditorium.

Chris Nowinski, co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute and a former Harvard football player and professional wrestler who suffered a debilitating concussion, will present to athletes and their families.

Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.
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