How safe is your child's football helmet?

Posted at 11:28 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 23:28:49-04
Rasta Taylor can’t forget about what happened to his son, Taj, two years ago on a football field.
"You start running down the field, jumping over the fence and his eyes were closed,” he said. “It was a tough situation."
Taj was knocked out cold.
He was motionless for nearly 10 minutes.
"I’ll never forget that, you know what I'm saying? That will be stuck in my head forever,” he said. “I just felt my head ringing. I couldn't really hear anything."
Dr. Jonathan Phillips runs a sports medicine division for Florida Hospital in Wesley Chapel, where virtual reality is used to treat concussions. He sees several new patients every week.  
"Anywhere from four to eight patients a week,” Phillips said. “It's certainly a large problem.”
At a Virginia Tech University research lab every type of football helmet is put to the test.
"So as soon as a company has a new model, we buy it, test it, and put it on the rating," said Dr. Stefan Duma of Virginia Tech.
Every helmet gets a star rating, five being best and not recommended, or NR, being the worst.
We asked more than 120 schools in the greater Tampa Bay area what make and model helmet football teams are using. Only about 45 percent of the schools responded.  
After comparing them to the Virginia Tech ratings system, we found of the responses received most have at or above average rated helmets.
St. Petersburg High School rated one of the lowest with two-star rated helmets, which are considered just adequate. But 23 schools had top of the line equipment, including Largo High School, where Taj plays.
You can see all of our research on an interactive map.
Just click on a school on this map and you can see what make and model helmet they're using and what they're rated. You'll also be able to see which schools did not respond to us as well.