High School Sports

Mission Prep football players will wear ‘best helmet ever made’ to prevent head injuries

Mission Prep football players received a new piece of equipment Tuesday that could help put the program at the forefront of preventing life-altering head injuries.

All 41 students from both the varsity and junior varsity programs were fitted with a VICIS ZERO1 helmet, considered to be among the top-rated in the sport.

The Seattle-based company sent a representative to San Luis Obispo to fit each player with a state-of-the-art helmet, which has multiple interior layers and a soft outer shell designed to slow impact forces similar to a car bumper.

Mission Prep is the first school in San Luis Obispo County — and one of a dozen in the state — to outfit its team with the helmet designed by mechanical engineers and neurosurgeons.

Second-year head football coach David Schuster said the helmets are unlike anything he’s seen in 15 years around the sport.

“We really tried to be very proactive and on the leading edge of showing everybody there’s something different, and the way we do things is different,” Schuster said.

The VICIS ZERO1 was the top-rated helmet tested in both the Virginia Tech Helmet ratings and the NFL/NFPL helmet laboratory performance tests this year.

Schuster said parents frequently ask questions about concussions and head injuries, and he believes the protection offered by the VICIS ZERO1 is well worth the $950 price tag.

“I think every parent would want to see their student playing football in the best helmet ever made,” Schuster said. “We want our players to feel safe on the field and our parents to be confident in our commitment to their child’s safety.”

Junior linebacker Dalton Strauss, one of the team’s biggest hitters, has worn the VICIS ZERO1 for the past four games and he said it allows him to play more relaxed.

“I’ve never been afraid to play football,” Strauss said, “but with the technology of the VICIS helmet I feel even more confident and don’t think about head or neck injuries.”

Mission Prep principal Mike Susank made a point to thank school families and boosters whose contributions allowed the school to move forward with purchasing the new helmets.

The Royals are 5-0 this season and will play Frazier Mountain in Lebec at 7 p.m. Friday.

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