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Helmets & concussions

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BATON ROUGE- The helmet your son wears on the football field is getting a grade, and it may not stack up to the price tag on the facemask.

Researchers at Virginia Tech have released a ratings system of nearly every helmet used in high school football, giving each helmet up to five stars based on it's effectiveness in impact tests.

Some coaches aren't thrilled with the focus given to concussions recently, though, and think the sport they love is getting watered down.

"There are going to be injuries, if you don't have bumps and bruises playing football, you're not playing," said Coach David Masterson, the head coach at Northeast High. "It is a violent game, it is designed to be played aggressively and violently."

Others think the concussion issue is a real threat as students work harder on the gridiron.

"I don't know what football game they're watching, because now it's a whole different game, you've got kids out here now 6'6", 6'5" running a 4.4 second 40 [yard dash] coming downhill like a Mack truck," said Coach Claude Coleman, the head coach at Capitol High.

Other schools are shelling out extra cash to get the top-of-the-line helmets. St. Amant will unveil their new helmets this year, featuring a computer chip that can track hits and alert coaches when a player needs to be checked out by trainers.

"It's gonna give us real data on the amount of hits that we're taking in practice and in games, because a lot of these head injuries are related to a cumulative effect, as opposed to a one-time incident," said Coach David Oliver, the head coach of St. Amant High.

To see how your school stacks up on Virginia Tech's rating system click here.

The National Operating Committee for Standards in Athletic Equipment says it does not recommend parents, schools, or athletes base decisions on any single rating or measurement system.

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