Parents Push for New Football Helmets in Schools - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Parents Push for New Football Helmets in Schools



    Parents Push for New Football Helmets in Schools

    Days after NBC 5 Investigates revealed concerns about the safety of some North Texas high school football helmets, parents are taking action. (Published Monday, Sept. 8, 2014)

    Robert Blumenstock’s 7th grade son, Rowan, suffered a concussion while playing football in Plano last year. It’s why Blumenstock is working to keep his son and his new team at J.L. Long Middle School safe.

    “I introduced myself to the coaches, and I happened to see some of their equipment and I was like, 'Are these your football helmets?' And they said, 'Yes, they are,'” Blumenstock said. “He explained to me that we only get so much budget to put toward helmets.”

    Blumenstock said some of the helmets are six years old, and technology has changed drastically even within the last three years. Texas allows schools to use helmets for up to 16 years.

    NBC 5 Investigation Prompts Helmet Changes at Local SchoolNBC 5 Investigation Prompts Helmet Changes at Local School

    A monthlong NBC 5 Investigation found some local high school football teams are using helmets that earned poor ratings in a groundbreaking helmet safety study at Virginia Tech University.
    (Published Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014)

    “I just thought they could be improved, because there has really been a lot of changes in concussion technology or concussion-prevention technology since those helmets were issued,” Blumenstock said.

    Some parents buy their players new helmets every year, but others don’t have the ability to pay $150 to $200 for a new helmet. That’s why Blumenstock is working to raise $15,000 to pay for 60 new helmets for J.L. Long Middle School 7th and 8th graders.

    The middle school has received some new helmets from the district, and coach Greg Trevino said they are used mostly by the 8th graders.

    Dallas Independent School District said all helmets used in the district are reconditioned often. As for J.L. Long Middle School, Trevino said a vendor from DISD evaluates the helmets each year and removes the ones that don’t meet their standards.

    Not all North Texas school districts can say the same. An NBC 5 Investigation found at least eight North Texas high schools using older helmets that rated poorly in a Virginia Tech study – helmets the researchers said could put players at greater risk for concussions.

    The Virginia Tech study only rated adult-size helmets used by high school and college players. Virginia Tech has not rated youth-sized helmets worn by most middle school players.

    While none of the schools using the worst-rated helmets is in the Dallas Independent School District, parents everywhere are now paying closer attention.

    “Ultimately, it's about their head protection, and that's the most important part when you're playing football,” Blumenstock said.

    NBC 5 Investigates Helmet Tracker

    To see which helmets are in use at which schools, use the map below to select a school and see which helmets are in their inventory. The inventory will also display the helmet’s rating.

    About the Virginia Tech Football Helmet Rating System

    Since 2011, researchers at Virginia Tech tested a total of 23 adult football helmet models. Each helmet was evaluated using a star evaluation system included in the the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings™. Click here to read the entire study. Please note, youth helmets were not included in this study.

    A note from Virginia Tech: Any player in any sport can sustain a head injury with even the very best head protection. This analysis is based on data trends and probabilities, and therefore a specific person's risk may vary. This variation is likely dominated by genetic differences, health history, and impact factors such as muscle activation.

    About NBC5 Investigates Helmet Tracker: NBC 5 Investigates filed open records requests with 45 school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area asking for their helmet inventory at more than 350 high schools and middle schools that have football programs. Records were collected from August 5, 2014 to September 3, 2014 and complied to make a searchable database. This database will be updated as additional school districts continue to respond with information. Please note, most middle schools use a youth size helmet and youth helmets were not included in the Virginia Tech study. Therefore any youth sized helmet reported by a middle school will be marked with an N/A rating in our database. Also, if a school district did not provide enough detailed information for us to verify the make and model of the helmet we also marked it with an N/A rating. Some schools may not use every helmet in their inventory so if you have specific questions concerning whether a specific helmet make and model is actually in use at a certain school, it’s best to ask the school for more information. If you see information that you believe needs to be updated, please email Investigative producer, Eva Parks at