Too often, Friday night football can lead to Saturday morning concussion. In fact, 35,000 players go to hospital with head injuries each season.
Now, a new company has created a football helmet that promises to change that.
Coach Hank Semler is about to pull off two firsts. The first is fielding a football team at the brand new North Forney High School.
The second, is doing it in a new kind of football helmet.
“It’s not very often that you get to start a program from scratch,” he said. “We bought 250 [helmets],” The Xenith X-1 promises to significantly reduce head injuries.
“We have to take care of our children and make sure they’re always going to be our top priority,” Semler said.
The idea behind the new helmet was born from a medicine cabinet. The company’s founder picked up a nasal saline bottle and noticed it absorbed a soft squeeze and hard squeeze equally well – perfect qualities for a football helmet.
Dan Cornwall is a Xenith sales representative.
He says inside the helmet is a bonnet that cinches snugly to the head, covered in black air discs.
It’s designed to absorb the shock of a hit and spread it out.
Quarterback Stephen Buckley is a fan of his Xenith helmet, on sale after 5-years of research and marketing.
He likes the way the Xenith absorbs the impact of a hard hit.
“It’s a lot less painful than a normal helmet that I’ve had before,” he said.
Ken Locker is the director of athletic training at Texas Health Dallas and treats concussions.
“They’re not able to learn as well. They can’t concentrate, and so lots of times they’ll drop out of high school,” he said of victims of concussion.
Trinity Christian wide receiver Evan Clayton suffered a concussion during spring practice.
A brain test showed when he’d fully recovered, and was ready to play again.
“I couldn’t remember the plays we’d just run. I couldn’t remember what I had done that day – school-wise, interacting with friends. I just couldn’t remember anything,” Clayton said.
Locker’s seen helmets evolve since his days as a trainer for the Dallas Cowboys and applauds Xenith’s innovation but says current research shows helmets cannot prevent concussion, only reduce their severity.
“I think you need to have it tested in the field. You can test it in a laboratory, but the hits you get on the field are different. So, let’s see what the season brings,” said Locker.
When it comes to wins and losses, North Forney’s inaugural season may not bring much victory.
But coach Semler believes by sending his team on the field with Xenith helmets – they’ve already won.
“We like to think so,” Semler said.