More Concussion-Resistant Helmets to Be Purchased for Football Squad
June 1, 2012
Concussion-resistant helmets will be purchased with funds raised in the 18th annual Catawba Football Golf Classic held May 11 at the Warrior Golf Club in China Grove.
Catawba Head Football Coach Chip Hester said the fundraiser "really just exploded this year."
"I think we had a worthy cause that people just wanted to be a part of and it was fueled by great leadership ," Hester explained. "The response was overwhelming and people really got behind the effort."
Thanks to this year's Golf Classic, Hester hopes to purchase new wind suits for his 100-member team and more than 50 new concussion-resistant helmets to put into circulation.
"The oldest helmets in use by the Catawba squad are around 10 years old and in need of being replaced," Hester said. "Every year, we try to buy 10-12 helmets to put into our rotation and we probably have 20 some guys who are in the new technology now. However, we want a majority of our players in the newest technology that there is.
"Each year, all of our helmets are inspected and certified, then refurbished and reconditioned as necessary. While all of our helmets meet the standards, we want to get the best and the safest for our guys that we can possibly get. Each new technology helmet costs over $200 and with 100 players on the squad, it would cost $20,000 to replace them all."
The squad's old helmets might see new life, Hester said, when some are auctioned off as decorative memorabilia at Catawba's upcoming Silent Auction in August. "Those old helmets will continue to help the team, this time in fundraising."
While the new concussion-proof helmets help assure the safety of the players, so have the changes to the rules of the game, Hester explained. "For example, the rule now is that you cannot target the head area of another player in tackling, and then there's a rule that the tacklers cannot spear or lead into a tackle with the crown of their head."
A proactive athletic training department, which supports the health and safety of the football players, is also vital to Catawba's overall effort, he noted. "Our athletic training program is on the cutting edge. Every athlete, regardless of sport (except for tennis and golf), does a baseline concussion test at the beginning of their team's season. There's a concussion protocol for an injured player to go through before they can get back on the field."
Hester had high praise for the efforts of the Golf Classic Chairs, Bob Setzer '73 and Bill Hall '66, as well as for the Golf Classic Honorary Co-Chairmen, Dick Smith '56 and Nick Means '03.