Shoreham-Wading River school board members are in agreement with athletic director Mark Passamonte’s recommendation to ban student athletes from using their own safety equipment like helmets and shoulder pads.
Mr. Passamonte addressed the school board Tuesday night and said he believes it’s very important for the district to know the condition of all sport safety equipment.
“If the student is using his or her own helmet, we don’t know when it was last conditioned or how old it may be,” he said.
While no action was taken at the meeting, school board president Bill McGrath and vice president Mike Fucito agreed requiring students to use the district’s equipment is best way to keep athletes safe.
“It’s something that needs to be looked at very carefully because it’s dealing with student safety,” Mr. Fucito said.
The discussion comes months after 16-year-old SWR football player Tom Cutinella died this fall after an on-field injury during the team’s Oct. 1 game at John Glenn. Mr. Passamonte confirmed Sunday that Tom used one of the school’s helmets, not his own, and the upcoming discussion stems from a recent districtwide evaluation on safety policies and procedures for sporting equipment following his death.
He said the district’s football helmets and shoulder pads are reconditioned and inspected annually, a safety process that’s most likely not happening to the helmets that students provide themselves.
The school board approved a resolution to render 15 helmets in the football program and six sets of shoulder pads as obsolete. The reason listed for both is “rejected during the re-conditioning process, no longer usable.”
Mr. Passamonte said after the meeting that those pieces of equipment haven’t been recently used and were found this year during an inventory of the district’s equipment. About 140 helmets used last season are in the process of being reconditioned.