From PBS and ESPN documentaries to legislation introduced right here in Rhode Island, the tie between concussions and football has been a hot topic as of late. Inspired by the momentum of the National Football League’s recent efforts to raise awareness of the issue and a new state law, Rep. Lisa P. Tomasso (D-Dist. 29, Coventry, West Greenwich) delivered a check to the Coventry Rams for state-of-the-art football helmets to help prevent concussions and brain injuries.
“These helmets are specifically designed to better protect our children from concussions and other potential injuries,” Representative Tomasso said. “I was happy to be able to make this possible for our young players. Ten years down the road, I have no doubt that every league will be wondering what they did without these helmets. No helmet can 100 percent prevent a brain injury, but Guardian Caps have been proven to at least offer more protection in youth leagues.”
Created in 2011, Guardian Caps were the result of more than 30 years of helmet research and development. Guardian additionally donates 5 percent of its profits to fund brain research.
“Providing the safest possible experience for the kids is our top priority,” Rhode Island Coventry Pop Warner League President Lou Simon said. “We are always looking for new training and equipment to further this endeavor. When we saw these Guardian helmets at a clinic this winter and further researched them, we knew we had to find a way to provide them for the kids. We felt these – combined with the new helmets we purchased last year, our commitment to the ‘heads up tackling program’ and extensive coaches training – would provide the safest environment possible.”
The league purchased 135 helmets for more than $6,000 through the legislative grant. Teams across the country have purchased more than 30,000 Guardian Caps since the product became available three years ago. According to the company, the majority of high-level impacts in youth football occur during scrimmages.
The General Assembly also tackled the issue with a new state law this year, which requires school athletic coaches, volunteers and school nurses to take an annual refresher course on recognizing concussions and traumatic brain injuries. The change, sponsored by Rep. Raymond E. Gallison (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth) and Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), is meant to help high school athletes who may suffer head trauma during games or practice, but not show any symptoms of a concussion until later.
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