If you have a child who plays contact sports, chances are you already have some concerns about the risks of traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussions. But what happens when the safety gear that is supposed to be protecting our kids—such as youth football helmets—is not actually safe for use? In other words, do we also need to be worried about defective products that are intended to prevent our children from sustaining serious injuries while they are playing sports? According to a recent report from ABC News, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall for a series of youth football helmets that may crack. What happens when a football helmet cracks? In short, young athletes may sustain severe yet preventable head traumas.
Details of the Recent Youth Football Helmet Recall
As the report explains, the CPSC has issued a large recall for potentially dangerous products that could cause serious child injuries. The federal agency has not recalled just a small number of these potentially dangerous helmets. Rather, the CPSC issued a recall for 6,000 helmets due to the risk of serious head injury. And multiple helmets are impacted by the recall, including:
- Xenith Epic Varsity;
- X2 Varsity;
- X2E Varsity; and
- Other youth football helmets that have “a gloss or metallic-painted polycarbonate shell.”
The helmets that have been targeted by the recall were either sold or were factory-reconditioned (meaning parents could have purchased one of the helmets in “refurbished” or “reconditioned” condition) between the dates of May 2, 105 and March 18, 2016. As you can see, the helmets were sold for more than a year.
What should you do if your child currently is using one of the helmets listed? The CPSC recall emphasizes that all football players should “immediately stop using the recalled helmets.” In addition to targeting parents, the recall also points out the players and coaches should be on the lookout for any of these helmets. In the event that your child is currently using one of the recalled Xenith products, you should contact the company immediately for a free replacement. According to the report, the dangerous products were sold at a number of different sporting goods stores, both in-person and online, and the costs ranged from $140 to $400. Helmets in multiple sizes and colors have been impacted by the recall.
Preventing Concussions on the Football Field
Thus far, the company Xenith has learned that 29 of the youth football helmets have cracked on the field, but no athletes have reported injuries. In addition to paying careful attention to the helmet your child uses, a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends the following tips for keeping your teen football players safe during practice and games:
- Work closely with coaches and other players to develop a “culture of safety” on the team;
- Encourage your child to report any signs of concussions experienced by other players;
- Emphasize the importance of taking enough time to recover in the event that your child does sustain a concussion;
- Require your child to follow all safety rules established by the coach and the league; and
- Encourage your child to “practice good sportsmanship at all times.”
The CDC emphasizes that, although there are currently no football helmets that are “concussion-proof,” helmets, when worn properly, can help to prevent the risk of a serious brain injury or head trauma.
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(image courtesy of Talento Tec)