I am pleased to report that Eastern Carver County Schools has made progress on having our remaining home football games at our stadium. But we have to cross our fingers that good weather allows our contractors to complete some required remediation.
A structural engineer assessed the bleachers and the concrete columns on which the bleachers stand. One of the issues is the ground around some of the columns has washed away. The district’s contractors plan to add concrete beneath the bleachers to add stability to the columns. If this can be completed soon, the bleachers must be reviewed again for stability, but we expect it would be cleared for near 100 percent occupancy.
The plaza will remain closed and off-limits for the rest of the season. For this reason, the district is installing temporary stairs at the bottom of the bleachers to allow access. Spectators will enter the stadium from field level and use the stairs to get into the home bleachers.
If weather or another circumstance does not allow us to complete remediation under the bleachers by Sept. 26, the back-up plan is to fill the bleachers to 60 percent capacity and identify alternate seating locations. Temporary bleachers may or may not be used; we will assess this option more closely as needed.
If, for some reason, we cannot occupy the bleachers at all by Sept. 26, varsity football team leaders indicated a preference for the Chaska High School stadium rather than another off-site location.
Thank you for your continued support of Chanhassen High School!
Last week, our district received notice that a local TV station is planning to run a story about Virginia Tech - Wake Forest University’s annual study that rates different models of football helmets. Virginia Tech rated 23 helmets on a one- to five-star scale. In addition, at least three TV media outlets have asked local high school teams for their helmet inventories.
Chanhassen may be mentioned because a little over half of our helmet inventory (133 out of 229) received a two-star rating in this study. The model is Schutt Air Advantage. We want to give you all the information we can about this matter.
Here are the facts about our helmets:
·The star-rating system did not test 2008 or 2009 models of the Air Advantage, which is when we purchased these helmets. The first year Virginia Tech released its helmet study was 2011. When we purchased them, the Air Advantage was a widely-used model.
·If we had any concerns about this model of helmet, we would not use it. All helmets are reviewed and reconditioned each year as needed. The Virginia Tech rating system also considers this model safe, and the study is careful to say that no helmet can prevent head injury.
·Typically, helmets are discarded after 10 years regardless of use or condition. Chanhassen is on a shorter replacement cycle to spread the cost over a few years. We have been purchasing replacements for the past two years and in three years all Air Advantage helmets will be retired from our inventory.
·Helmets must be tested according to criteria from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). All vendors we work with ensure our equipment meets or exceeds these standards.
·Other helmet models in our inventory are Schutt DNA Pro+, Schutt Vengence DCT and Xenith X2. They are all NOCSAE certified. These models rated three stars or higher in the Virginia Tech study.
Football is a contact sport. We know it poses a risk for concussion and injury. We always worry about how the news media may portray topics connected to school. When complicated engineering and medicine are reduced to a five-point rating system, and then media get involved, we are concerned that the steps we take to keep players safe will be overlooked.
·We were one of the first high schools in Minnesota to baseline testall athletes for concussion.
·Parents/guardians and players are educated about the risks and warning signs of concussion at the beginning of each season.
·Coaches complete a training module from the Minnesota State High School League on how to handle possible concussions. Coaches sit players if there is a risk of concussion. To be clear, their training and practice for concussion is to sit a player if there is any doubt about his suitability to play.
·Coaches at all levels work with students on technique and form. Having good technique is one of the key ways to minimize head injury.
·Coaches are using more strategies to limit hitting during practice.
·If you have specific concerns about your player, please talk with a coach.
Virginia Tech’s rating system provides information that we did not have before 2011. This important information, but the science around the cause and prevention of concussions in football is still evolving.
The Virginia Tech study states that risk factors are different for each individual and that no brand of helmet has been proven to stop a concussion.
·A study from the University of Wisconsin published in 2013 looked at 1,300 high school football players during the 2012 season. They wore helmets made between 2002 and 2012 from three different manufacturers. This study found that the brand of helmet did not change the risk of concussion or the severity of concussion.
·One of the criticisms of Virginia Tech's "drop-test" method is that it does not replicate the dynamics of live, on-field football. Their method measures linear acceleration which is like hitting a helmet straight on with full impact. Football players are taught specifically to avoid this type of contact. The researchers acknowledge that further work is needed to replicate on-field conditions.
Thank you for your support of Chanhassen High School. Go Blue!