NORFOLK -- Football may be America's favorite sport, but it is statistically one of the most violent. Spectators love the crushing hits, but for student-athletes the risk of a concussion or serious brain injury on the football field is significant.
For years, researchers at Virginia Tech have been studying the biomechanics of injury. In an effort to protect players from injuries, they’ve developed a five-star rating system for helmets. They say the type of helmet a player wears can reduce the risk of a concussion by as much as 50 percent.
"There was no way for consumers to get any information on what helmet was better. It was purely what it looks like, what it costs, what the sales rep tells me,” says Virginia Teach researcher Dr. Stefan Duma.
13News Now requested helmet information from the seven largest school districts in Hampton Roads to see how local high schools stack up against Virginia Tech's five-star rating system.
Although we found a number of high schools use top-rated football helmets, we also found several schools in Hampton Roads use helmets not recommended by Virginia Tech researchers.
Tonight on 13News Now at 6, see how local schools measure up against the five-star rating system and why Virginia Tech researchers say the price of the helmet is not a factor in protecting high school players from serious injuries.