Despite complaints, soccer head guards now in use

Abigail Slimmon, Midway Reporter

To minimize the severity of possible concussions, the girls soccer players have been wearing protective head guards while on the field in both practice and games after being fitted on the first day of practice Feb. 26. And the complaints began almost immediately.

Sam Fleming
HEADS-UP. Senior varsity soccer player Isabella Light wears a mandatory concussion head guard at a practice.

One of the first complaints the girls had was the discomfort of the guards. Storelli Sports, the brand that Principal Stephanie Weber and the Athletic Director David Ribbens chose, sells head guards that come in increments of a quarter of an inch. Some players said their heads do not perfectly fit in any of the sizes offered, resulting in pounding headaches or the guards slipping off in the middle of games.

“A lot of the girls have really bad headaches while wearing them and after taking them off for hours after practice and games,” varsity player Grace Watson, a junior, said. “This is something that worried us especially towards the end of the season when it gets really warm, having those bad headaches while constantly running in the heat could lead to girls passing out.”

Varsity captain Elizabeth Van Ha mentioned that during their first game, two of the players’ headbands fell off because the sizing was not perfect.

“The point is to help protect our heads but it seems to be more of a detriment and distraction while playing,” Elizabeth, a senior, said.

Mr. Ribbens mentioned that he is aware the sizing Storelli Sports provides is not perfect so they are looking into getting head guards with an adjustable, velcro strap for the 2018-19 boys and girls soccer seasons.

Another issue the team has with the gear is that heading the ball is much different than it was previously. Earlier in the season, the players spent one of their practices learning how to head the ball in a new way.

“Because the heading is different, I get really confused with it on. I head in the wrong place so in the game I headed one with my eye and one on the top of my head in order to avoid the band,” Elizabeth said.

The boys soccer players were sized for gear in the middle of the fall season, but the order did not arrive until a week before the playoffs, so it was agreed that the boys would not wear them. The Athletic Department plans to require the boys team to wear head guards from the beginning of the fall season.

Elizabeth, fellow varsity captains Tia Polite and Anna Kenig-Ziesler as well as manager Katie Stolze met with Ms. Weber before spring break to discuss their concerns about the head guards, but the captains said they have yet to hear any decision change from Ms. Weber.