Football helmet hassle interrupts practice at Va. school

PURCEVILLE, Va. (WUSA9) -- Controversy over football helmets temporarily stopped football practice at Loudoun Valley High School on Thursday after some students came to practice wearing helmets with impact sensors.

On the first day of football practice with helmets, 24 Loudoun Valley football players were wearing impact sensors. The sensors, made by Brain Sentry, are not approved by the Virginia High School League or any national sanctioning organization that oversees equipment for football, according to Wayde Byard with Loudoun County Public Schools.

Administrators stopped the practice, which began at 8:30 a.m., and ordered the players wearing sensors to remove them. At 11:30 a.m., parents came on the field and removed the sensors, Byard said. The team left the field for the day at about 12:30 p.m.

Loudoun County administrators emailed and called parents Wednesday night and said if any student wore sensors in practice, he couldn't do drills that required a helmet, according to Byard.

Athletic directors and a school board committee decided that the county has no interest in these helmets, Byard said. He said the county is not a research facility and using these helmets would take a lot of monitoring.

Parents have submitted a petition to Ned Waterhouse, deputy superintendent at Loudoun County Public Schools, for helmets to be equipped with sensors for all contact sports.

"There was a proposal on the table for all of Loudoun County sports with helmets to receive these sensors. This proposal was recently "shot" down by Mr. Waterhouse," according to the petition.

A WUSA9 investigation revealed that Loudoun County was among the schools with the highest rated helmets in the area. On a scale of zero to five, in Loudoun County, WUSA9 identified helmets rated as three, four and five star helmets. Although they maintain three star rated helmets in their inventory, officials told us that as they purchase new equipment, they're buying only helmets rated four or five.


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