ORANGE PARK, Fla. - A local youth sports association is in desperate need for funding.
Organizers with the Orange Park Athletic Association tell Action News Jax they need to replace all of their football helmets for the safety of their players, but they don’t have the money to do it.
“One of the things that we face as a youth athletic association, it’s the same situation that all athletic associations face. It comes down to funding for safety equipment,” OPAA president Phillip Hutchens said.
Hutchens said helmets are about $80 apiece. The association has roughly 100 players.
At 6: @ActionNewsJax speaks with a local youth sports association in desperate need for funding. President says he needs to replace safety equipment- especially for football- but doesn’t have the money to do it. pic.twitter.com/qT3gZZV7bW— Russell Colburn (@RussellANjax) November 21, 2017
Hutchens said Pop Warner requires helmets to be refurbished every two years. The helmets can’t be worn in practice or in games after six years of use.
“This was the last recertification for all of our helmets, so we’ve got about two years left for all of helmets,” Hutchens said.
Earlier this month, Action News Jax investigated high school football concussion reporting in Florida. We even took a closer look at the age of the equipment being worn by high school football players in Duval County.
OPAA parents like Mandi Herndon are making a plea to the community for help.
“I believe that our community -- both here in Orange Park and in Jacksonville -- really cares about our kids, so I have a lot of faith that with these people here and the people that we have our in the community that want to help that we’ll get the equipment we need,” Herndon said.