WALPOLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — High school football coaches across the country are frustrated over a shortage of certified helmets for their players.
The lack of helmets is the result of supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also affected items such as baby formula, computer chips, and lumber.
"I was extremely nervous we weren't going to have enough helmets," said Chris Sullivan, coach of the Walpole High School Timberwolves, a football team with more than 100 players representing three levels of play. "At one point we had 22 helmets for 28 freshmen, and then a few kids decided not to play, so it helped."
Walpole High Athletic Director Ron Dowd told WBZ that he has 20 certified helmets on order from Riddell Sports Group. When asked when he expects the helmets to arrive, Dowd laughed, "I'm not holding my breath."
"We have one extra helmet, which means if we get three or four kids who wanna come out next week to play, we're gonna be in a helmet shortage," Dowd said. "And we're gonna be telling kids either they cannot play, or more than likely we're gonna say you can try out, and hopefully when the helmets come in, we'll give you a helmet."
Dowd said other high school coaches are calling him, begging for helmets.
"I've gotten five calls. They've been able to piece it together. Unfortunately I don't have any to give. We're right at that number, but everybody's working together," Dowd said.
WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.