High school football teams are busy preparing for the upcoming season, while more attention is being put on safety. The focus right now not only in the valley but nationwide is on protecting the head. "You've got to make sure that you've outfitted your players, your program, you've outfitted your players with the safest equipment out there," said Scott Fisher, the head football coach at Coachella Valley high school. Some manufacturers say new helmets may provide may more protection, but they come at a cost.
The newest, top-of-the-line helmets can hit team funds for a loss. They can range in price from $250-$400 each. He like, many others, have to find a way to tackle safety on a budget. "If you had unlimited resources where you had that money and you could sit down and get the top notch safest helmet, then you would spent that money," said Fisher. "You would use that money for that."
College of the Desert head athletic trainer Todd Conger sees the allures of the new technology in helmets. However, he says, more money doesn't always mean more protection. "The padding makes the helmet more comfortable, it doesn't really make the helmet safe," said Conger. "The only things helmets are designed to do is to prevent skull fractures."
Conger says the way to keep athletes safe goes beyond the helmet. He takes a close look at the medical history and spends time teaching players the right way to use the equipment. ' "You want the best fitting helmet for your athlete, that's going to be safest thing for them," said Conger.
"All the helmets we've got nowadays, you're able to put air into them," said Fisher. "And to make them pretty much fit the kids head.
Fisher also does his part to keep players healthy by coaching technique and fundamentals. "You could have the best helmet in the world, but if you don't teach the kid how to tackle properly, that helmet's not going to do him any good."