Soccer Headgear: Does It Do Any Good? by Jere Longman of the New York Times reads like an April 1st spoof, but it's not.
The article features a mention of Jeff Skeen, CEO of Full90, a San Diago based soccer headguard manufacturer.
Skeen's company has sold 100 000 Full 90 headguards to date. In another newspaper interview he said he doesn't think promoting the use of his helmets will make people think playing footie is dangerous:
"I saw these pockets of resistance, and I thought, Who could be against this?' They feared the sight of headguards would scare soccer moms away, reducing the number of players and hurt them economically."
A standard for soccer headgear is currently being drafted by the ASTM, the American Society for Testing and Materials. ("The goal is to reduce the number of head injuries without significantly changing the game, and we should keep that in mind while developing a standard for headgear.")
Helmet standards for US sports are decided upon by the ASTM F8 Committee on Sports Equipment and Facilities, more specifically Subcommittee F8.53 on Headgear and Helmets.
The Vice Chairs of this committee are Randy Swart of the pro-compulsion Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, and Dennis Piper of...Full 90.
The latest press release on the Full 90 website reports that, from March 1st 2005, all the players of the Southern California Blues Soccer Club will be compelled to wear "head protection."
Larry Draluck, program director at SC Blues, said: After witnessing numerous head injuries over the years, we wanted to take a leadership position on this important issue. We believe the number and severity of these types of injuries can be reduced and hope other clubs will follow suit."
In the UK, the Football Association has a safety campaign aimed at making goalposts safer.
Nine kids have died in recent years, from goalposts falling on them.
So, does this mean all kids should wear motorcycle helmets when playing football?
The Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust could change its name and become just the Helmet Initiative Trust. It could then argue for compulsory helmet wearing by juvenille goal-keepers. But why stop there? How about helmet compulsion for climbing trees, taking a shower, sleeping in a bed with a legs longer than 6cms, walking the streets and when being ferried around in cars?
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