Football helmets must be fitted and worn correctly to prevent concussions

The only thing that protects football players from head trauma is their helmets. By now, it's no secret that concussions are an issue in the sport, and now that we're well aware of the long-term damage that repeated head injuries can cause, it's crucial that more attention is paid to the helmets that football players wear.

When coaches, athletic directors and parents are fitting young athletes for football helmets and instructing them how to wear them properly, there are a number of things they need to keep in mind, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

First of all, if a helmet is more than 10 years old, it needs to be replaced immediately. This is not only because the wear and tear it's received in that time has made it significantly less safe, but also because there are so many new models that are designed specifically to prevent concussions.

When trying to figure out the right size helmet for particular athletes, the circumference of their heads should be measured an inch above their eyebrows. Because everyone's head is shaped differently, they should try on a number of different helmets to find one that doesn't rattle when they shake their head, but also isn't too tight. The source says that if the skin on an athlete's forehead moves when the helmet's twisted from side to side, it's probably a good fit.

Players need to be reminded that their helmet can protect them from head injuries, but it can't do it on its own. A lot of young players may try to avoid keeping their chinstrap fastened, but they are only making themselves more susceptible to injury. Additionally, mouthguards can also be critical in reducing shock to the head during a hard hit.