Recently one football booster club in our district was told that 74 of the team’s helmets could not be re-certified and would need to be replaced. This has set off alarm bells within that school, as a replacement helmet costs up to $250.00.
District wide, I’m told approximately 270 helmets total at our 7 high schools will no longer be useable. Costs to replace these could run as high as $60K.
Typically, helmets are sent in yearly for reconditioning and re-certification. At a meeting last year of the organization that represents athletic equipment re-conditioners, the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA), a new rule was adopted that mandates helmets that are more than 10 years old no longer be reconditioned and re certified. The emphasis on player injury in general and concussions, specifically, appears to be the motive for the policy change.
I admit I know little about this subject, and I am amazed that we can get 10 years out of a helmet given the punishment these helmets take at practices and games.
My concern now is, how are these replacement helmets going to be paid for? I don’t think the schools or the Quarterback clubs can absorb a $10-15,000.00 hit to their individual school budgets to replace these helmets all in one year.
It is my understanding that district administrators have been alerted to this issue and are formulating a response.
Whatever level of district funding support is offered to the schools that need replacement helmets—I’m going to be requesting equity in this funding; some booster clubs are more successful than others, and the really active clubs should not be “penalized” by having to pay a greater share of the replacement costs than
less successful clubs. Funding should be equal and based upon a formula per helmet across the district.
And going forward, it appears as though schools and booster clubs will need to put helmets on a replacement cycle, much like we do at the district level with busses and computers, and replace a certain number of helmets yearly to avoid the one time big financial hit of replacing them all at once.
The press release from the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA), announcing the policy change and the reasons why the rule is changing-- is here.