SWR reacts in favor of new safety standards for sports equipment

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Shoreham-Wading River athletic director Mark Passamonte addressed the school board on Tuesday evening. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Shoreham-Wading River School Board members agree with athletic director Mark Passamonte’s recommendation to prohibit student athletes from using their own safety equipment such as helmets and shoulder pads.

Mr Passamonte spoke to the school board on Tuesday night and said he believes it is very important for the district to know the condition of all sports safety equipment.

“If the student is using their own helmet, we don’t know when they were last conditioned or how old they may be,” he said.

While no action was taken at the meeting, School Board President Bill McGrath and Vice President Mike Fucito agreed that requiring students to use district equipment is the best way to go. ” ensure the safety of athletes.

“This is something that needs to be looked at very carefully because it is about the safety of the students,” Fucito said.

The discussion comes months after 16-year-old SWR football player Tom Cutinella died this fall from an injury on the pitch during the team’s Oct. 1 game against John Glenn. Mr Passamonte confirmed on Sunday that Tom was using one of the school’s helmets, not his, and the upcoming discussion stems from a recent district-wide assessment of safety policies and procedures for equipment sportsmen after his death.

He said the district’s football helmets and shoulder pads are reconditioned and inspected every year, a safety process that is likely not the case for helmets that students supply themselves.

The school board approved a resolution to obsolete 15 football program helmets and six sets of shoulder pads. The reason given for both is “rejected during reconditioning process, no longer usable”.

Mr. Passamonte said at the end of the meeting that this equipment had not been used recently and had been found this year during an inventory of equipment in the district. About 140 helmets used last season are being reconditioned.

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