Darlington County Parks & Rec implements new football helmets

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – The Darlington County Parks and Recreation Department is making changes to keep kids who play football and flag football safer.

The Darlington County Recreation Center will begin using new safer helmets for youth flag and classic football. The goal is to mitigate concussions in young players.

The new helmets have a “soft shell” and are designed with more padding to help protect the young football players.

According to USA Today, in 2012, 12 percent of all kids age five to 14 coming into the emergency room involved a concussion, which is the equivalent of one concussion patient every three minutes.

Darlington Area Athletic Director Brantley Jett says even though youth flag football players won’t play as rough, they still need protection.

“With the soft shell helmets, it will reduce the impact of the soft blows that they take and it’s hard to get a five or 6-year-old to tell you they have a headache or concussion because a five or 6-year-old, they are going to want to keep playing,” explains Jett.

To assist with educating parents about the warning signs of a possible concussion, the recreation department now requires parents of all children involved in football to attend a concussion information session.

One Darlington parent says he understands the dangers of the game but appreciates the effort Darlington recreation department is putting in for the safety of the children.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity; It really is,” says Anthony Jerry. “I can’t stress it enough. They are taking the right steps to let parents know that you can sign your kids up, and that your investment is going towards the kids’ future.”

To learn more about the helmets or the concussion information session schedule, contact the Darlington County Parks and Recreation Department.