The youth and scholastic market, though, is far larger. Adidas, Pylon and other companies that run 7-on-7 tournaments already require that players wear soft-shell helmets.
“I was petrified, that’s how we got involved,” said Shannon Ferbrache, who runs the grass-roots football program at Adidas. “We were scared someone would get hurt.”
Children continue to get hurt. Mike Sadler, whose nephew was playing on the Bremond High School team in the tournament, said he was glad the team now wore helmets. In a qualifying game, an opposing player broke his nose when he collided with the head of a Bremond player. Bremond ordered helmets soon after.
“It’s a good thing,” Sadler said. “It’s all about safety, safety.”
Injuries, of course, are not new. Some coaches believe that mandating that players wear soft-shell helmets is as much about reassuring skittish parents.
“When we have a product like this, we’ll take advantage of it because we’re not naïve to the issue of concussion and the culture of football bashing across the country,” said Todd Dodge, the coach at Westlake High School in Austin, a Texas football powerhouse.
Whatever the motivation, Poynter, Brett Green Jr.’s coach, said he was pleased the change was made.
“I took him down to the tournament because I wanted him to have a visual, to look to the north, east, south and west, and see all those kids are wearing those helmets because of him,” he said. “I’m happy something good came out of it.”