A NEW ‘SOFT SHELL’ HELMET IS GEARED TO KEEP ATHLETES SAFE
By Chelsea Torres
Last football season, King High School’s Head Football Coach, Eddie Hesseltine, was approached about a soft shell, cap-style helmet. He was intrigued, but not completely sold. Until one of his players, who had a history of concussions, hit his head on the field during a 7-on-7 tournament.
Hesseltine says he was worried that this player might have another concussion. Fortunately that player was fine, but this gave Hesseltine an idea that even without full pads there needs to be more protection.
Hesseltine became the first football coach in the Coastal Bend to implement these helmets, made by Gamebreaker. “If you can prevent injuries or concussions on accidental stuff that’s not meant not even in full pads, then you’re taking steps for safety for your kids and that’s what we’ve done,” he says.
These soft shell helmets are made with a D3O impact technology that absorbs shock when a player hits their head.
Hesseltine says he was nervous at first implementing the helmets with his players, but the team immediately felt comfortable with them. Junior Josiah King says, “You don’t really notice it’s on your head. You just play how you want.” With a shrug he says, “you don’t really feel anything.” KRIS 6 watched the Mustangs in a football practice running drills with the helmets and immediately noticed the amount of contact made without the use of pads.
Hesseltine says the game is safer than its ever been, but this just adds that extra protection that is needed. He reiterated that these helmets will be used any opportunity the team has the chance.
The soft shell, cap-style helmets have now become a requirement for Texas State 7-on-7 tournamentsand will be implemented in the 2019 7-on-7 State Tournament at the end of June.
These helmets are also being worn in D1 schools across the country and in other sports like, water polo, wrestling and cheerleading.