CINCINNATI - A hit on the field now could affect your child years down the line. In an effort to avoid the long-term effects of a concussion some parents are taking it into their own hands.
Kyle Rogers is a wide receiver on Anderson's freshmen football team. Being a freshmen, he didn't exactly get first pick of the helmets, so his dad is having him fitted for a helmet at Koch's Sporting Goods.
"We're concerned with the safety. The helmets supplied by the school, typically the freshmen get the older equipment so we were concerned about head injuries and concussions and that's real important to us," said Don Rogers, Kyle's dad.
Koch's sporting goods says there's a noticeable increase in the amount of helmets they are selling and fitting this year. They've sold hundreds more this year compared to last. But, the helmets aren't cheap. Kyle's cost around $300.
Danielle Jester's son plays freshmen football for LaSalle High School. She brought Virginia Tech's helmet ratings with her to Koch's to help them with the helmet decision.
"We're looking to invest into a decent helmet he can wear for the next couple years. Something that protects them," said Jester.
Jester's son ended up with a Schutt ION D. It is in the 4-star category in Virginia Tech's ratings.
Experts say a better helmet can reduce the risk of head injuries. Research shows 50 percent of high school football players have suffered at least one concussion and 35 percent have had more than one concussion.
Moeller Football Coach John Rodenberg has only had a handful of concussions on his watch in the last five years.
"We will take every helmet that's made and make them available to the kids. We want to make sure they're fit, we'll have a company come out and fit certain kids because every kids head is different," said Coach Rodenberg.
All of the players on Moeller's team take an online test as freshmen. If they have a head injury they have to pass the same test before they can return to the field.
"The test helps us see how their response is pre-injury versus post injury.
If an athlete is wearing a helmet that doesn't fit it could cause additional injuries, especially in the younger players.
"These helmets are so heavy and there not strong enough yet, so if the helmet doesn't fit right and it's moving around too much it can result in neck injury," said Dr. Nicholas Edwards.
Spencer Stroube suffered from a concussion when he was playing football for St. Xavier High School. But it took a few days before he realized it was a concussion, not just a hard hit to the head.
"I didn't really know immediately it was probably the first day back to practice, my eyes. They wouldn't dilate to let the light in. I had a minor headache but not a big one," said Stroube.
Dr. Nicholas Edwards is a Professor of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Dr. Edwards says after a head injury you have to give the brain time to heal.
"They're still learning, they're still changing quite a bit. So we want to make sure they're not affected long term by their concussion," said Dr. Edwards.
Dr. Edwards advises we pay close attention to the following items when inspecting if a helmet fits.
- First, measure head circumference
- Make sure hair is wet when fitting helmet, so nothing gets in the way
- It should be snug all the way around
- You should not be able to turn it all the way around
- There should be room above the eyebrow and it should come down in the back to cover the skull
Mayo Clinic signs and symptoms of a concussion:
- Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
- Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
- Dizziness or "seeing stars"
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech
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