Lufkin Panthers enter 7on7 season with new safety measures

Lufkin Panthers enter 7on7 season with new safety measures
(Source: KTRE Sports)

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Lufkin Panthers are looking to qualify for the Texas 7on7 championships. They could do that this Friday in the Woodlands.

New to the 7on7 scene this year is protective head gear. For several years teams have started wearing soft-shell helmets to protect players who despite are playing “touch football” could take a hit while going for the ball.

In Janurary, the Texas State 7on7 Organization passed a rule saying players must wear soft-shell, cap-style helmets that have a four- or five-star ratings in the state tournament. By 2020 all schools that participate in 7on7 must wear the helmets at both state qualifiers and the state championships.

The changes come after an extensive study by Virginia Tech.

Lufkin Athletic Director Todd Quick saw the change as good.

“It will be good in the long run,” Quick said. " We are going to wear it all the time. If we are going to wear it in the state tournament then we are going to wear it in the qualifying tournaments also"

Quick acknowledged that while the 7on7 events are non-tackle that doesn’t mean there is no contact. For instance, a wide receiver and corner can both jump for a ball and land hard on the turf. Quick sees the change as an evolution in football safety.

"It is not just the one big hit, " Quick said. “It is the over, over and over that you have to be concerned with."

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