All football players at both Livermore and Granada High Schools will be better protected against concussions, thanks to the support of the Livermore Valley Education Foundation. Players received new Riddell SpeedFlex helmets, with anti-concussion technology, as part of their regulation uniform for the 2017 season.
Livermore football teams are the first in the East Bay Athletic League to receive the helmets.
Dana Rowley, President of the Livermore Valley Education Foundation (LVEF), met with players from both schools as they received their safer helmets. “This investment will benefit all football players at both high schools for years to come,” he said.
Both Head Football Coaches, Tim Silva (GHS) and Terry Butler (LHS), said that their players are both grateful and excited to have the new helmets. Bo Buscher, Granada High School (GHS) football player, said, that having these helmets show us that LVEF and our District care about us and appreciate us. Livermore High School (LHS) player Jose Martinez agreed. “LVEF has made safety a priority. Their giving to us inspires us to give back to our community,” he said.
Craig Bueno, President, LVJUSD Board of Education, stated, “Discussion within our community, as well as in professional and collegiate football forums, has centered around player safety, and what steps can be taken to minimize risk to the student athletes, while supporting their desire to pursue athletics. I am overwhelmed by the community support for this programmatic change, and especially thankful to LVEF for their generosity. Their support has provided us the ability to equip every player, at all three levels, at both LHS and GHS with the gold standard in safety helmets."
The Livermore community recently filled the Bankhead Theater during the Rae Dorough Speaker Series to hear Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of the book (and then movie) Concussion. Laskas shared the research of Dr. Bennet Omalu, which brought to light the dangers of brain trauma caused by concussions, as well as by repetitive hits to the head, even those that may not result in visible concussion symptoms.
Since Omalu’s research has been available, the National Football League (NFL) and collegiate football programs have recognized the need to develop more protective helmets so that athletes can avoid developing chronic encephalopathy (CTE). Riddell’s SpeedFlex helmet reduces impact-force transfer to the athlete's head. Flex is engineered into the helmet's shell, facemask, and attachment system.
LVJUSD Superintendent Kelly Bowers commented, “We have a community that values scientific research as well as innovative technologies. Our District reflects those values and wants to be the leader in the Tri-Valley by bringing the safest helmets possible to our students. These helmets can be a real life-changer."
Gil Lemmon, Commissioner of Athletics for North Coast Section (NCS), California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), added, “The purchase is a real testament to the commitment the Livermore School District is pursuing for the safety of their students."
Football continues to be a highly popular sport that Livermore students and residents enjoy. Providing safer helmets will make Friday nights, and the daily practices that prepare athletes for competition healthier and happier events.