More Schools Remove Unsafe Helmets

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Midlands Athletic Director has stopped all contact football drills at his school because of a News 19 investigation into football helmets.

Since our story first aired last week a number of high schools are taking action. More than 200 unsafe helmets have been removed from schools across the Midlands.

"Once we found that we had that many helmets that were two star helmets, the smart thing to do and the safe thing to do was to discontinue any contact," said Vince Lowry, Athletic Director at Blythewood High School.

Blythewood High School had 50 Schutt Air Advantage helmets in their inventory last season.

Once Lowry saw our story and discovered that his school had unsafe helmets he took immediate action.

"It gave us the opportunity to see that we did have some helmets that needed to be replaced and it gave us the opportunity to do something before something major happened."

A Virginia Tech study ran 120 tests on every helmet used by high school football players. The test ranked helmets on a five star rating.

Pelion High School had 31 one star helmets that have since been removed.

Eau Claire high school had 22 two star helmets and WJ Keenan had 13.

Karen York spokesperson for Richland one says "those helmets "have been pulled from future use."

Swansea High school also had 18 two star helmets. Lisa Ingram with Lexington 4 says they "will be replacing all of the 2 star helmets"

Last week, Dutch Fork, Chapin and Blythewood removed close to 100 helmets.

Coach Lowry at Blythewood says that concussions have been a hot topic in sports and this study will help keep them up to date on which helmets to get their students.

"When we bought these helmets almost 10 years ago they were 5 star helmets so over the years they have lost some of their effectiveness, so I think one of the things the study did give us an opportunity to revamp and revisit the helmets that are on our shelf to make sure that they are safe."

He believes you can't put a price tag on safety and says that should be every schools priority.

"Do it now to make sure we are putting the best equipment out there and we take kids safety as a priority and whether it's the district office or high school and as a parent you want to make sure that you are in an environment that kids safety is the number one concern and I think that's what we are doing here."

Fairfield, Lee and Calhoun counties have not sent us their information yet, but they tell us that they are working on it.

We will continue to be On Your Side and follow this story.


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