The Sun Prairie Youth Football Board of Directors understands proper use, selection, maintenance, and documentation of all SPYF supplied equipment of youth players are a critical component of the Risk Management Plan. This written Equipment Program describes the procedures to be observed by all coaches, players and parents of the youth football program.
It is very important to inspect equipment prior to each practice and game. Football equipment is designed to help protect athletes from injury or reduce the severity of injuries if an incident occurs. Improper equipment can create vulnerabilities and increase the risk of injury. Coaches can be sued based on injuries allegedly resulting from improper fit, lack of maintenance and care, and noncompliance with standards, accepted practices and league rules.
To maximize injury prevention, equipment must be:
- Available for and used by all players
- Appropriate for activities
- High quality
- In good condition
- Sized properly
- Maintained properly
- Repaired or replaced when damaged
The Sun Prairie Youth Football Board of Directors is responsible for:
- Electing an Equipment Director for the upcoming season.
- Determining what equipment will be used during training and competition.
- Selecting the appropriate equipment.
- Ensuring that all necessary equipment is available.
- Establishing the procedures to inspect players’ equipment before they engage in practice or games.
- Establishing procedures to ensure that players with non-compliant equipment do no participate in practice or games until the equipment is repaired or replaced.
- Warning coaches, players and parents about the risks associated with equipment use and misuse.
The Equipment Director will implement all equipment policies established by the Board of Directors. The Equipment Director is responsible for:
- Overseeing the use of equipment and ensuring that equipment is properly maintained and replaced when needed.
- Maintaining a proper equipment inventory program to effectively track all equipment issued to players.
- Accurate documentation of the repair of any damaged equipment.
- Follow all equipment manufacturer guidelines for the repair or maintenance of equipment. Whenever doubt exists about a repair to a piece of equipment, the authorized manufacturer’s representative will be contacted.
- Properly tag new helmets with inventory control numbers and entering the inventory control numbers on the master equipment inventory spreadsheet.
- Submitting all equipment repair records and the master equipment inventory spreadsheet to the Board of Directors following the completion of the season.
- Warning coaches, players and parents about the dangers associated with equipment use and misuse.
Individual Coaches are responsible for:
- Rechecking equipment for proper fit and function during the course of the season and coordinating with the Equipment Director to resolve any equipment issues.
- Instruct players and parents in the correct use of the equipment supplied by SPYF.
- Instruct players and parents to inspect their equipment on a daily basis before practice.
- Perform weekly equipment inspections and coordinate equipment repairs with the Equipment Director.
- Ensuring no unauthorized repairs to equipment are made by players or parents. Unauthorized repairs can void the equipment warranty.
- Reporting any defective equipment to the Equipment Director.
- Ensuring that players with non-compliant equipment do not participate in practice or games until the equipment is repaired or replaced.
- Warning players and parents about the risks associated with equipment use and misuse.
Individual Players and Parents are responsible for:
- Wearing all the required equipment supplied by SPYF. If a player does not wear all the required equipment, he/she will not be allowed to participate in practice or games.
- Keeping all equipment clean and inspecting equipment before each use to ensure proper working order. Any damaged or defective equipment must be brought to the attention of the Coach or Equipment Director immediately.
- Following instructions from the Coach and Equipment Director concerning the correct use and misuse of supplied equipment. Players and Parents will not modify or alter any SPYF equipment. Unauthorized repairs can void the equipment warranty.
SPYF Supplied Equipment
The SPYF program will supply each player with the following equipment for use during the football season:
- Football helmet, NOCSAE certified
- Shoulder pads
- Game jersey (kept by the player at the end of the season)
- Practice jersey (returned by the player at the end of the season)
- Integrated pants (pads sewn in) or Slotted football pants with belt and 7-piece football pants pad set consisting of 2 kneepads, 2 thigh pads, 2 hip pads, and 1 tailbone pad.
- Mouth guard with attached helmet strap
Players and parents are responsible for supplying non-metal football cleats for practice and games. The wearing of a protective cup is recommended for all players and is not supplied by SPYF. All equipment except for the mouth guard and the game jersey are to be returned to SPYF at the completion of the season.
Manufacturer’s guidelines will be followed in determining the useful life of equipment. Equipment will be replaced before the end of its useful life rather than place a player at risk. The Equipment Director will prepare a schedule of replacement and all replacements will be made prior to the upcoming season.
The Equipment Director and Coaches are responsible for making sure that all supplied equipment is fitted properly. Equipment that is too large, small, tight, or lose presents an increased exposure to injury. Coaches will instruct players to bring fitting problems to their attention immediately so that corrections can be made.
Maintenance and Repair
Equipment maintenance and repair is the responsibility of the Equipment Director and must follow the guidelines and specifications of the equipment manufacturer. Whenever in doubt about a repair to a piece of protective equipment, it is best to transfer this liability to an authorized manufacturer’s representative.
Written records are critical in protecting SPYF against any equipment related lawsuit. It is the responsibility of the Equipment Director to document equipment inventories, maintenance problems, repairs, and helmet reconditioning. The Equipment Maintenance Log will track any damaged equipment and what repairs were performed. The Equipment Handout Form for each player will document the assigned equipment and the helmet assigned for the season by the specific Helmet Inventory Number. All records kept by the Equipment Director will be given to the Board of Director’s Treasurer following completion of the season.
Helmet Reconditioning Program
An integral component to the Risk Management Plan is a clear, well-documented Helmet Reconditioning Program. The football helmet issued to the player by the SPYF is the most important piece of protective gear. The maximum lifespan for any helmet in SPYF is ten years or when the helmet no longer passes reconditioning or cannot be repaired. All helmets will be sent to a certified helmet reconditioner every two years to ensure compliance.
All helmets have an inventory control number1 placed on the inside of the helmet either above or below the left ear hole. This number is specific for the individual helmet and is documented on the Master Equipment Inventory spreadsheet by the Equipment Director. Any new helmets purchased by SPYF will have a new inventory control number assigned them before the helmet is placed in use. Any helmets removed from service due to age (>10 yrs.), failure to pass reconditioning, or excessive damage will be rendered unusable (cut into pieces) or disposed of by the helmet reconditioner and will be documented as such on the Master Equipment Inventory spreadsheet by the Equipment Director. Effective September 1, 2010, National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA) members will not recondition or recertify any football helmet 10 years of age or older. The 10 years shall be determined by the manufacturers date as required by the National Operating Committee on
Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
Any helmets used during the season by a player must have a current NOCSAE certification sticker attached. The Master Equipment Inventory spreadsheet will also document when each helmet is due for its next reconditioning and when the last reconditioning occurred.
The individual players Equipment Handout Form will document the specific helmet by listing the inventory control number on the form. No player or coach will be allowed to switch a player’s helmet during the course of the season; only the Equipment Director and/or Equipment Committee member can issue a new helmet. If a new helmet is issued to a player, the old helmet inventory control number must be crossed off on the individual players Equipment Handout Form, signed and dated by the Equipment Director and/or Equipment Committee member. The new helmet assigned to the player will have its inventory control number written on the individual players Equipment Handout Form, signed and dated by the Equipment Director and/or Equipment Committee member. The old helmet will then be evaluated by the Equipment Director to decide if the use of the helmet warrants counting as a year of usage towards the reconditioning cycle. If the old helmet was used by the player for more than 4 weeks of contact (tackling), the helmet will be removed from use and set aside for reconditioning at the end of the season. If the helmet was used for less than 4 weeks of contact, the helmet will be inspected by the Equipment Director and will be placed in service or set aside for reconditioning at the end of the season.
1The inventory control numbers are assigned based on the year purchased, the size, and the numerical count of that size and purchase year by the following example:
10 new helmets (4 XS, 2 S, 4 L) are purchased by the Equipment Director in 2009. The 4 extra small helmets are assigned numbers 09-XS-1, 09-XS-2, 09-XS-3, and 09-XS-4. The 2 small helmets are assigned numbers 09-S-1 and 09-S-2.
Adopted by the Sun Prairie Youth Football, Inc. Board of Director’s:
Original version: 5/31/2009 by S. Smith
Revised: 7/6/2011 by S. Smith