One Key Action Parents Can Take to Keep Their Young Athletes Safe

From bike to football helmets, parents should check their children's sports equipment each year to make sure it fits properly and meets current safety standards.

See all videos with Dr. Richard Ellenbogen.

I think this is a really important point, and it's not an NFL issue per se-- although the NFL is interested in helping youth sports-- is you as a parent can do a lot more in ensuring your kid is safe. Whether you're playing lacrosse, whether you're playing football-- whatever you're playing-- there are a few things that you have to remember. The helmets have to fit correctly. A lot of the helmets used in high school are used year after year. You have to make sure that the inserts are proper so it fits snug on the child's head, the chinstraps work. A helmet doesn't protect if it pops off or doesn't fit correctly. Checking the equipment-- and while this is costly and schools worry about these issues because they can't afford to get a new helmet every year like the pros can-- it is an important issue. It is like bike helmets. The Consumer Protection Agency argues that you should change a bike helmet every 2 years. You make sure it fits your child correctly, the chinstraps work, and change them every 2 years because they're only certified for that length. Well, it's worth investing time to check your son or daughter's equipment--safety equipment. That is an enormous issue that we have to attack as well. Is the equipment good year-to-year? We don't know because the tests haven't been done on them. We're pouring money into research to try to determine that-- whether or not they maintain their integrity. So, safety equipment is important. It is the parent's responsibility to check those issues. Make sure the helmets fit well on your son or daughter, and make sure they work and are worn like they're supposed to be. A large issue, an important issue, not trivial.
Posted on BrainLine October 23, 2012.

Produced by Vicky Youcha, Ashley Gilleland, Justin Rhodes, and Erica Queen, BrainLine.