Friday, July 29, 2011

Keeping a lid on it all

Everyone loves the throwback look, the ancient uniforms, the vintage film of the days gone by.

But this CFL season seems to be taking the idea of the past a little to seriously, into week five the main recurring theme of CFL games of late seems to be the frequent occurrences of helmets rolling down the field, separated from their owners by a glancing blow or just popping off at the most inopportune of moments.

To date, there hasn't been a serious injury attributed to the popping lids, but it does seem only a matter of time before the untimely departure of a helmet and the onrushing crush of opposing players results in somebody facing a serious concussion issue.

And in a league where concussions have never been more in the spotlight, this is probably not a good thing.

There has been no real explanation yet as to why helmets seem to be popping off with such frequency, though the suggestion that the players may be mixing and matching equipment seems to be the unofficial link between the frequency of rolling helmets.

The suggestion a few weeks back was that some CFL players are using chin straps from competitors on their league issued helmets, a decision which could very well put their playing days at risk should the chin strap fail at the most inopportune time. However, news reports later in the week stated that the chin strap suggestion wasn't accurate and that the issue wasn't completely at the doorstep of chin straps.

The helmet situation is apparently spooking more than a few players, as some have returned to an older model, which unlike the new helmets introduced last year, is less safer in protection, but fits much snugger with less chance of departure.

The CFL has had no "official" statement on the equipment issue, but one has to imagine that there has been some commentary on unofficial back channels to the teams, reminding the players of the necessity of maintaing the proper accessories with their equipment.

If it is an equipment supply issue, the league should be quick to rectify whatever it is that is resulting in so many instances of players chasing down their lids after the play.

Last year, Canada AM outlined the process of development of a new football helmet the Xenith, which is in use with some CFL players and in the CIS as well, below is some video of that report which provides a helpful guide as to what refinements have been made to the traditional football helmet.



 It's not known yet, or at least hasn't been outlined thus far if the helmets that are rolling along the field are of the new variety or of the more traditional styles, still it is a situation that needs to be rectified pretty quickly.

While we all enjoy the old footage of the original days of The Rugby Football Union, the game today is a much different even than from the past, the speed of play, the construction of the equipment in use dictates that all precautions need to be taken to protect the players.

It would be shame to see an existing or rising CFL star, or any player for that matter,  sidelined for the season or beyond because he took a hit when he was at his most vulnerable.

Especially if that injury took place due to an equipment issue, or due to a lack of attention by the players as to their own personal safety.

Globe and Mail-- Keeping a lid on CFL players
Sportsnet-- CFL players ditching 'safer helmets'
Vancouver Province-- CFL and wayward helmets: A ticking timebomb
Calgary Herald-- Players losing their lids sets off alarm bells

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