BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WKBN) – In the past week, three high school football players across the country died from head trauma on the field.
High schools in North Carolina, New York and Alabama are all mourning the deaths of football players. Each of the three students suffered brain injuries while on the field either during practice or a game.
The most recent death was Wednesday night during a game in New York, about 40 miles east of Manhattan. A 16-year-old player collided with another player and collapsed a short time later.
An ambulance rushed him to the hospital where he died in the intensive-care unit following surgery. He had passed a preseason physical.
The school’s athletic director will lead the district’s investigation into the player’s death, looking at everything from the type of hit, to what kind of helmets and equipment he and other players were using.
With big games set for Friday night football here in the Valley, one local school is trying to better protect its student athletes.
Western Reserve High School Athletic Director Jeff Martig said the school district is taking a proactive approach to keep athletes safe by using better protection on helmets.
Martig has been working with local chiropractor Dr. Steven Novicky who designed Shockstrip, which absorbs and deflects impacts. The chips in the paint on the helmets Novicky showed WKBN 27 First News, show the hits the athletes take.
“He has taken a lot of helmet to helmet impact. Fortunately, this student has never been removed from a game or had any problems from helmet to helmet impacts,” Novicky said.
Martig said the district is working to implement the protection for younger football players, too. The Shockstrip is not being utilized with the middle school players, and there have been three concussions so far this year.
“At the high school level where they are faster, stronger and they hit harder, there have been none,” Martig said.
Western Reserve hosts McDonald Friday night and both Martig and Novicky said they will continue to stay vigilant when checking students on and off the field.