High School Coach Opts for ‘Protective Shield’

The coach of a high profile high school football program has purchased what is being described as a protective helmet shield made of Spandex-covered gel pads, for his team to wear in practice this season.

A reporter with the Palm Beach Post reported how Cardinal Newman High School Coach Steve Walsh, the former University of Miami and NFL quarterback, believes the Guardian Caps can absorb some of the force from the minor, repetitive hits players take in practice.

“No one knows when the hit comes,” Walsh told the paper. “If you take out some of the risk, you’re helping alleviate the problem.”

The paper went on to quote R. Dawn Comstock of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio about whether the product works. “Interesting question,” she said. “Can I say definitely that they don’t work? No. What I’m incredibly disturbed by is the growing number of products flooding the market that make claims of reducing concussion risk based on impact testing at best.”

Lee Hanson, owner of Alpharetta, Ga.-based POC Ventures, countered that his product has been proven to reduce impact on a player’s helmet by up to 33 percent. “We’ve heard all this before,” he told the Post. “We’re a research and technology company. We know all about testing and making sure a product works. We also know once you get a product that does work, you can’t keep testing and not bring it to the market. We know it works.”

Another football coach, Seminole Ridge’s Matt Dickmann, wasn’t so sure on whether the product works. “We can’t afford them in our budget,” he told the Post. “And I don’t know how much research is behind it.”

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