Today’s health and safety news around football — and other sports:
* The Gamebreaker foam helmet is being used in youth flag-football leagues in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. And other non-football youth sports in the area are using them too.
The helmet is essentially a protective cap that can also be used in sports like soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and water polo. The Gamebreaker has foam inserts that cushion impacts and a chin strap and laces that allow users to get a custom fit. The Lycra outer shell also allows for air to flow. This season the helmets are being used by all 100 senior division players in the Conejo Youth Flag Football League, said Greg LeGore, who coaches and handles equipment and logistics for the group. ”Actually they are working out very well for us. They are lightweight and easy to keep clean but most importantly they provide the protection the players need,” LeGore said. “They have gone over so well that next year we will be transitioning the rest of the teams to them.”
The Gamebreaker was invented by former NFL player Joey LaRocque, who played 14 games for the Chicago Bears in 2008, and developer Mike Juels. They were aiming at the ever-growing popularity of off-season passing leagues.
While the players don’t wear pads, they are flying around the field at full speed, and risk injury from accidental collisions or falls. “You’ve got young men entering adulthood going at full speed and (they) don’t have the ability to control their bodies and they were getting hurt,” LaRocque said. “This gives them the opportunity to be as safe as possible.”
* The San Francisco Chronicle’s 49ers blog tackled the controversy over whether quarterback Alex Smith could have hidden his concussion symptoms.
* The West Virginia State Journal reported that one in 27 high school players in the state suffers a concussion.
* The injuries continue to pile up from the Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings with two Vikings coming up with concussion symptoms on Monday, according to the Associated Press while NFL.com reported that Bears cornerback Charles Tillman suffered a chip bone in his foot.
* The Arizona Republic reported that Arizona Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein suffered a torn MCL against the St. Louis Rams and is out for the season.
* And running back Andre Brown of the New York Giants was placed on injured reserve after breaking his leg against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, according to NFL.com.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor