Football

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Will High School Football Kick Off? Maybe Not

13 May, 2020

By: Michael Popke

Although there’s no guarantee when high school and youth football will resume, some players might soon feel an unforeseen impact of COVID-19.

As KFOX-TV in Texas reports, “it is mandatory for [high school] teams … around the country to have their football helmets undergo a safety inspection. The companies that inspect the helmets, Riddell and Schutt, are currently shut down.”

“I don’t think they are going to open any time soon,” Julio Lopez, head football coach at Eastwood High School in El Paso, told KFOX. “If they do, I would imagine all of their reconditioning focus will be toward the college teams. It’s a huge issue.”

Lopez noted that most of Eastwood’s helmets have already been tested, so the delay won’t cause a setback for his players. But the circumstances could complicate matters for other high school and youth football teams.

Additionally, at least one leading manufacturer of youth football helmets, Riddell, is experiencing a slowdown in fulfilling orders. “Due to issues related to COVID-19, Riddell.com orders will be delayed,” reads a banner headline on the company’s website. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

On April 13, Pop Warner — the largest youth football organization in the United States — posted a message on its website in an attempt to help players, coaches and parents navigate all the uncertainties.

“There is so much that perhaps we took for granted in the past that we will appreciate more than ever,” the message reads in part. “While our regular football, cheer and dance seasons are a long way off right now, we know there have been many questions, from registration and equipment ordering to whether we will have a season. Like everyone from the NFL to the NCAA, we are actively looking at scenarios, planning our approach and taking guidance from the experts. That has meant listening to the direction of the CDC, public health officials, our Pop Warner Medical Advisory Committee and government officials. We remain hopeful that our upcoming season will start on time and serve as a memorable opportunity for our communities to come together in celebration. But, of course, there is still so much we don’t know yet.”

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