HOUSTON CHRONICLE | June 28, 2019
SOFT-SHELL HELMETS DEBUT AT 7-ON-7 TOURNEY
By Adam Coleman,
COLLEGE STATION — Even a non-contact sport by definition could be safer.
That was the Texas State 7-on-7 Organization’s thinking when it approved a soft-shell helmet requirement last January for the state tournament. This year’s state 7-on-7 tournament is the first in a 22-year history in which headgear is required.
No one is tackling in 7-on-7, but incidental contact remains a possibility.
The state 7-on-7 board believes these efforts help. The soft-shell helmets just can’t be any helmet, either.
They have to hold at least a four-star rating from a Virginia Tech’s review, which is regarded as the best around. The helmets weren’t required for state qualifiers this year considering the timing but will be next year.
There are other requirements with the helmet — no hard plastic and metal components and no sharp edges, and a chin strap is a must.
Many teams in College Station on Thursday and Friday brought previously purchased helmets and some were available for use at the tournament with manufacturer GameBreaker on site. Doug Stephens, 7-on-7 board executive director, expects more vendors next year.
Inadvertently, many of those purchased helmets add a stitch of personality to a tournament plentiful in Adidas-sponsored gear. Teams share the same style of uniforms for state 7-on-7 games, but many sported team-colored helmets with the school logo to match.
Ultimately it’s about safety.
“…we can sleep a little bit better at night knowing that we’ve put these kids in a product that’s going to keep them safer.“