Mom's Team website found at www.momsteam.com was the first place that I saw the new rules changes for the upcoming high school football season. When I saw these changes, I was extremely pleased. This finally addresses at the high school level, a problem that is growing at all levels of football. Seeing players losing their helmets while playing is getting downright scary, and it is getting worse.
I first witnessed the problem a couple of years ago and have only seen the number of helmets popping off increase since then. I have also found that there are two common reasons for it. Most if the time, the helmet is a poor fit for the player and either needs to be reinflated or replaced with a more appropriate size. This can be easily fixed and needs to be done so as quickly as possible. A poor fitting helmet exposes the player to only losing his helmet, but also a greater chance of injury. Obviously, the best way to prevent this is to have the kids report back that their helmet needs some more air in it as soon as they notice it.
The other reason that I have found for this to occur is that the snapping hardware on the helmets has been a lot easier to unsnap in recent years. Several time over the last few years, I have been forced to dive into our supply of old chinstraps and procure older snaps that hold to the helmet much more strongly. I am not sure wether this was a manufacturing error or not, but I would be interested to know from other ATs and equipment managers if they have had the same problem in recent years.
Regardless of the cause of the helmet coming off, it was welcome to see the NFHS address this issue in the rules. I am glad to see there is now a 15 yard penalty for illegal contact for hitting a helmetless player and illegal participation for continuing to play without a helmet. If the NFHS had not instituted this rule for next year, it was one that I was going to propose to the local youth league that my sons play in. Fortunately, that is one proposal off the list.