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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Player Dons Helmet During 2011 PDL Championship

An interesting spectacle to Saturday night's United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League title match between the Laredo Heat and Kitsap SC Pumas was a padded Rugby-style helmet worn by Kitsap player, Kyle Johnson.  The helmet was approved by the league for use by Johnson as he recovers from a concussion suffered earlier in the season.  The helmet was hard to miss, as it was all white and seemed so out of place.

Is the Rugby-style helmet part of Soccer's future? Possibly, this is the remedy to guard against re-occurring concussions.  Other forms of headwear can be used to prevent concussions from happening in the first place.

A more appropriate style may be one resembling a headband, but with some extra padding, as seen in some Soccer circles, already.  The Rugby-style headpiece is too obtrusive and may give added advantages to the player.  He or she may feel so much padding that their aggression changes and other players are playing without that same advantage.  Not all players like to use their heads frequently as a tool in their skill set, but with extra padding, players may feel more confidence and change how they play. 

The topic of concussions is as big as they get in American sports right now.  It may be hard to argue against such additional padding and protection.  The end result will have to be some sort of compromise or else the way the game is played could change forever.  Players will always want to use their head to take risks with line-drives, towering kicks, fists from goalkeepers or head on head collisions.  The key is finding the right amount of protection without assisting or hindering the skill levels too much.

Johnson's Kitsap team won their first title by a final score of 1-0.  The team from Bremerton, Washington, formed in 2009, competed among more than 60 teams in U.S. Soccer's 4th Division.  The Laredo Heat played in their 4th final out of the last 6 years.  They won the title once in 2007.

11 comments:

  1. Helmet for soccer is definitely the new talk of the town. Because of concussion Johnson has been wearing the helmet for the game. The soccer accessories are definitely evolving as the time flies by and we can do nothing but appreciate them.

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  2. Anyone who has suffered a concussion can attest to the crippling after effects. Contact sports are and always will be hazardous. However, there is risk in all forms of adventure and spectacle which make the activity intriguing.

    When the risk and spectacle is removed, the intrigue of the activity will also disappear. There is vast difference between reasonable caution and ridiculed safety. Helmets on a temporary basis are reasonable. As a permanent fixture of equipment it sets a precedent for ridicule.

    Why not advocate total caged headgear, mouth pieces, knee braces, steel toed shoes, shoulder and elbow pads ?

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  3. This surely isn't new, chivu has been wearing one for two seasons now. What about chek?

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  4. helmet,why not. we gave up the football for soccer

    today helmet tomorow american '"footbal" outfit,

    change the rules and voila the real football gone

    no thanks

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  7. What's wrong with pads? If they increase safety and don;t give anyone an unfair advantage, why not? I say Goalies especially should pad-up. The padded headband is a no-brainer (pun intended). I say any padding a player wants to use, he should be able, as long as they are soft-sided and not hard plastic.

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    Replies
    1. then, ultimately, it leads to bulkier equipment. this is why american football got all messed up. now, american football has to deal with the concussion crisis. this crisis may bring down the sport. if they had stuck with leather and grass, concussions probably wouldn't have ever become a big issue.

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    2. These helmets are not "football" helmets. Goalies wear padded shirts, padded pants. Why not wear padded headgear? I think part of the misconception on the part of a number of the commentators here is that they until you actually handle one of these helmets you may presume they are heavy. They are not any heavier than the padding in the other protective wear. My goalie son wears one and our hope is that he will inspire others to wear them too. Check them out before you judge. You may change your mind.

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    3. I played keeper for 24 years and suffered numerous concussions. I've been coaching keepers since 2003, and have seen a startling increase in head injuries and concussions in the last year...7 of my 16 keepers suffered concussions! I have advised all of my clients that I will no longer work with them unless they wear protective headgear. Their parents ALL agree! The longterm effects of a concussion can be life-changing, and young keepers (and their parents) is being foolish not to take measures to protect against them if possible. The headgear offered by Full90, Adidas, KooGa, Canterbury, and Gilbert (to name a few) have zero negative impact on the beautiful game! They won't hurt opponents who might collide with the keeper...and they don't block vision or reduce hearing for the keeper. I believe this form of headgear should be strongly encouraged in youth/high school/college soccer...if not required. As for professional soccer? Leave it up to the players and FIFA to determine...

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  8. The coaches and players I have asked about this topic, and those I have seen actually wearing this equipment all seem to agree that protective headgear is a common-sense precaution. I see absolutely no reason to prohibit or limit use of the padded headband or the rugby hat. Every concussion these headgear prevent is one more career extended, one less brain injury, one less day needlessly ruined. No coach, trainer or player I have spoken to about this seriously disagrees. The laws of the game should explicitly permit such headgear and should give guidelines as to which headgear are acceptable. It's common sense and should be allowed.

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