ORANGE, NJ – Two days before the first official day of practice, the Orange High School football team was on the field at Bell Stadium, under the scorching heat late Monday afternoon, August 6.
But before they were ready to work out, the players lined up to have their helmets fitted properly for the entire season.
Athletic trainers from outside the school district were on hand to help the players fit into their helmets.
Using a hand-held device, Mike Weatherby “pumped up” each players’ helmets in order to fit their heads properly. Weatherby, of Atlantic City, founded the company, Helmet Fit.
The device calculated a reading that will be set for each helmet for the rest of the season.
Having the right inflation prevents helmets from coming off, especially during action in a game.
With so much discussion about concussion risks, the main purpose of proper helmet fitting is to enhance player safety.
“That’s the way it should be,” said Daniel as his players’ helmets were being inflated. “You know you have the correct helmet. We’re putting the emphasis on player safety. This way, nobody gets their helmet taken off.”
During the season, if a player feels the helmet starts to feel unfit, the helmet can be readjusted to the setting of that particular helmet, according to Paul Brankowski, an athletic trainer from LIvingston-based St. Barnabas Medical Center, who also was at Bell Stadium on Monday. A coach or a trainer can administer helmet readjustment, said Brankowski.
Coming off a 4-6 playoff season, the Tornadoes attended camps at Monmouth and Rutgers this summer, and participated in 7-on-7 games in the area.
Daniel, entering his 23rd season at the Tornadoes’ helm, has high hopes for his relatively young team this season. Of course, this year’s team will be led by senior running back/cornerback Nyquee Hawkins, one of the most dynamic players in the state. Hawkins committed to Virginia Tech this past spring.