First a Long Island middle school banned balls on the playground. Then, an elementary school in New Hampshire banned tag. Now a school district in New Jersey has decided to mandate the use of helmets during...soccer.
Traditionally, the only equipment required for soccer is cleats, shin pads, socks, and a ball. This has helped to keep the cost of soccer low, increasing its popularity across the world. These soft helmets, which typically cost between 40 and 60 dollars (about four times the cost of shin guards), have not been definitively proven to reduce concussions.
Additionally, several studies have shown that increased "safety" equipment may in fact make the game less safe. Youth and college ice hockey players in the United States are required to wear full facial protection cages when they play, which coaches have said results in a "gladiator effect" of players feeling invincible and playing riskier and in a less-safe manner. The same could be true for students in New Jersey--feeling "protected" by their soccer helmet, they may play more aggressive than before.
This is a ridiculous policy. Concussions are certainly terrible, but they can happen both on and off a field, and with or without a helmet. This policy is silly and expensive, and may end up being dangerous.
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