Princeton has become the first town in New Jersey to require students who play soccer, lacrosse and field hockey to wear protective headgear, sparking a controversy in the process, according to The Times of Trenton. I don’t get it.
Part of the brouhaha is over whether such headgear really does prevent concussions. And there are also fears that public school districts that can’t afford the headgear will be at a disadvantage when they play Princeton, whose teams may be emboldened and aggressive because they feel less vulnerable to injury.
Princeton plans to gradually roll out the use of the new headgear, starting with sixth graders this fall and moving up the grade until even high school seniors have it, The Times reported.
The gear that Princeton plans to use cost as much as $70 each, and have a soft outside. They cover the temples, forehead and top of the head.
Amazingly enough, several people that The Times interviewed, including physicians, pretty much argued against use of the headgear.
For example, a girls field hockey coach from a town that neighbors Princeton said that several of her players had suffered multiple concussions. Yet she argues against the use of headgear, saying that “accidents happen.”
Three brain injury specialists and advocates also basically argued against use of the headgear. Dr. Alexander Post, a pediatric neurosurgeon, said that the gear would reduce the risk of cuts, but not concussions.
The president of the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey agreed with him. And the athletic trainer at the Center for Concussion Care at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., said the headgear would just give players “a false sense of protection,” The Times reported.
I don’t get it. Of course, wearing this headgear is not a guarantee that a youth is not going to suffer a head injury while playing soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. But for the time being, isn’t some protection better than none at all? How can so-called “experts” on brain injury not agree?