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In 2011 researchers at Virginia Tech published a new star safety rating system for football helmets — and last winter, they concluded that wearing the right headgear can reduce a player’s risk of concussion by more than 50 percent. So ask your child’s coach or athletic director about helmets, especially for football; they should be reconditioned and recertified at least every two years. Ask who inspects helmets and how often, and examine helmets for obvious damage to the shell or padding.