Bakersfield College football coach Jeff Chudy has adjusted his coaching over the years with the hottest topic in football — Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and concussions — in mind.
The tackling he teaches today is “completely different” than just five years ago, Chudy said, to lessen blows to the head. His latest effort to maximize player safety was acquiring 30 new Schutt helmets for the Renegades.
“From a players’ safety standpoint, we have the best of the best,” Chudy said of the new helmets. “That’s all we can do. We’ll continue to work on our technique and our fundamentals, but from a safety and equipment standpoint, we’ve got nothing but the best.”
Chudy was at a state coaches meeting where a special on the helmets was presented. He came back to campus urging the equipment staff and BC athletic director Sandi Taylor to buy them. With the help of the Helmet Club, the team’s booster organization, the school purchased 30 helmets at about $300 each. Normally, Chudy said, the helmets cost $1,000.
“No helmet’s gonna stop concussions, but we want to make sure that we have the best possible helmets that we can get,” Taylor said. “These were helmets that coach Chudy was recommending and I support him and his research.”
Two of the new helmets shown to The Californian were 2010 and 2011 versions of the Schutt ION 4D helmets. The Schutt ION 4D was given four out of five stars by The Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, which rates football helmets based on their performance in impact tests. The model scored 0.327 in 2011. (A lower score offers better protection. The Schutt Air XP Pro VTD received the best score of 0.207 among the 25 helmets test at the time.)
Chudy noted that his team’s new helmets feature lightweight lining and padding. Schutt promotional materials claim “unlike the traditional foam padding or air-filled pucks in other helmets, the TPU Cushioning inside the ION 4D performs its best in game-like conditions” when the inside of the helmet is hot.
“The CTE issue is huge,” Chudy said. “It’s a very big part of the game and it’s something that we have to be very cognizant of.”