WKYT - Lexington - Headlines

New helmet policy aims to protect student athletes

As high school football kicks off, parents begin to worry about the threat of injuries.

One Kentucky school district has a new policy aimed at protecting student athletes.

Fayette County Schools instituted the new policy this year.

Helmets for middle and high school athletes will now be evaluated every year.

They used to be evaluated every two years.

"Testing shell, facemask, cushions inside the helmet, cracks, cuts, anything that could cause bacteria inside the helmet," says Fayette County Athletic Director Don Adkins.

He says the school board recognized the threat and growing parental concern. That's the reason they upped testing to a yearly evaluation.

This year, 75 helmets were rejected and replaced.

Adkins says it's up to each coach to decide what brand and model helmet to buy, but they all have new concussion technology. He stresses a helmet isn't fool proof.

"Parents have to understand. No helmet will guarantee against a concussion," Adkins says. "Even the manufacturers say that."

Fit of the helmet is key. Wearing it correctly is important as well.

Adkins says fair, safe play is important for keeping students healthy too.

"Using the helmet as a battering ram or spear is illegal and just plain unsafe."

In addition to yearly helmet evaluations, all Fayette County soccer and football players undergo cognitive testing at the beginning of the season.

If an athlete is diagnosed with a concussion, the student has to retake the test and make their original score before returning to play.

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