Monday, August 18, 2008

What if a Parent Suggests Different Athletic Equipment than the AD Recommends?

With respect to athletic equipment, the focus should be on safety, not brands or standardization. See, for example, University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2006, January 14). "Newer Football Helmet Design May Reduce Incidence Of Concussions In High School Players, Shows University Of Pittsburgh Study." ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 12, 2008, from , which states that, in terms of relative risk, Riddell Revolution wearers were 31 percent less likely to sustain a concussion compared to athletes who wore standard football helmets. Also, there are some claims in other sources that the Schutt ION4D may perform as well or better than the Revolution. Thus, the best safety equipment for the player is a combination of a specific helmet make/model, facemask, and fitting. I'd recommend getting more information from the parent with respect to his plans for a specific model, facemask, fitting, maintenance, and certification as well as his specific reasons to go in this direction (if is answer boils down to selling his product, I'd be less than convinced, but, if he has other reasons, I'd listen). If his plan meets or exceeds your standards (in your sole judgment {enhanced by your AD}), then I'd consider his alternative. With respect to liability, helmet design is largely a manufacturer (product liability) issue. However, if the district mandates a specific safety product over the concerns and alternative recommendations of a parent (who has specialized knowledge about a specific type of safety equipment) and a catastrophic injury occurs, additional liability could inure to the district.

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