More soccer players are turning to protective head gear

By Joe Bennett

June 17, 2012 Updated Jun 17, 2012 at 10:23 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- As the River City Soccer Classic wraps up on Sunday, extreme heat conditions are not the only safety concern.

That's why some have turned to protective headgear, like the Full 90.

"Obviously whatever you can do to prevent concussions and provide safety for the kids you certainly would want to do," says the club's President Vito Minecci. "It's something that's going to have to transition over time, I think. It's not something that is widely accepted yet."

As controversy stirs around football players suing the NFL for allegedly hiding the dangers of head injuries, soccer players and parents say it's all part of the game, something Dave Shealy knows all too well.

Two years ago his daughter Elizabeth sustained a head injury so severe it required surgery.

Now, she wears a Full 90 when she plays.

"I've seen a number of people go up for headers where there is head-to-head contact, and I'm always waiting for another injury like my daughter, but it was probably a fluke thing but I think it's good for her for now," says Shealy.

Still, some experts say too many haven't received the message..

Dr. Bob Cantu is a neurosurgeon and leading concussion researcher.

Dr. Cantu says, "They're primarily marketed as a concussion reduction device. That is something that there is no proof they are."

Organizers at the tournament are taking safety precautions.

There is OSF Saint Francis medical staff on-hand, and players are taking frequent water breaks.

However, protective gear like the Full 90 has not yet made it's way into most soccer specialty stores.

In fact, parents we spoke with don't see the necessity until someone gets hurt.

Judy Volk's's daughter Zoey has been playing soccer for fourteen years.

In that time, she has only pulled a muscle.

Judy Volk says with a laugh, " I don't see too many people that wear the headgear, and honestly I'm not sure if my daughter would wear it if I told her to.