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With helmets, other equipment in short supply, some area high schools canceling football games

Posted at 1:01 PM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 13:01:33-04

CLEVELAND — High school football season has finally arrived, but the latest shortage is now threatening to sideline players.

Several area schools are dealing with helmet shortages and don’t have enough to fully outfit their entire teams. The lack of equipment is already giving coaches headaches before games have even started.

“We still got kids that's coming out, and kids that we don't have equipment for,” said Glenville High School head coach Ted Ginn Sr. “A lot more kids wanted to participate as well, too. So that's kind of given us a situation as well."

Ginn said he’s short by as many as 40 helmets, but it’s not just head gear that coaches are in need of. Shoulder pads are also in short supply and teams are scrambling to find extra equipment.

“This is the first time in the history of football for me. You know, we'd be short here and there, but you could get you some helmets,” Ginn Sr. said.

Neighboring school Collinwood won’t play its first game of the season this week because of a lack of helmets. The game, which was non-league, had to be forfeited because the other team picked up another opponent for the week. The school is hopeful that helmets will arrive this week.

“We lost a lot of helmets because they couldn't fix them or they were cracked or too old,” Ginn Sr. said.

In a statement released to News 5, North Ridgeville-based Riddell, the area’s largest helmet supplier, said: “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a series of global issues – supply chain, transportation, and labor shortages, to name a few – disrupting access to protective equipment for the football community. While this environment has proven challenging for Riddell, it has also severely impacted other providers and their ability to service the marketplace."

Coaches say that equipment has either expired or gone off for re-certification and come back unfit to play.

Riddell said to ensure they meet existing orders; the company is no longer accepting new orders for the 2022 season. The backlog of new helmets and shoulder pads will ship by the end of August with the remainder coming in September.

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