So I was flipping through the channels during the NFL game, and I stopped on the NCAA Volleyball Semi-Finals and noticed something extremely odd on the court. It appeared that a player, the Libero for Cal, was wearing something on her head. About three seconds later they cut to her and she was wearing a soft helmet. I assumed she had suffered previous concussions and someone had successfully implemented a proactive method for preventing further injury.
So I did a quick Google search on Robin Rostratter and found the story behind the helmet.
“It allows me to play aggressive and not worry about hitting my head again,” said Rostratter, believed to be the only Division I volleyball player to wear a helmet. “If I dive or collide with someone else, it gives that extra cushion that will help protect my head. It doesn’t affect the way I play other than mentally I know hitting my head is something I don’t have to worry about.”
The Championships are being contested in Kansas City and the Kansas City Star ran the story.
Rostratter has a very long and tenuous history of concussions. The problems began before entering college, but her two most recent concussions were the catalyst to don the helmet. In her freshman year, she dove and hit her head on the floor, causing symptoms that lasted for weeks. Then right before the Tournament last year, her head collided with a teammate’s knee, ending her season. In preparation for this season, she wore the helmet, became used to it, and continues to wear it even though she is not required to.
“She was told this fall she didn’t need it, but she had gotten so used to it, she asked her teammates how they’d feel if she wore it, and they said, whatever makes you comfortable, do it.”
With concussions being such a hot-button topic in sports this year, Rostratter — who leads the Bears in digs and service aces — has been a symbol for concussion prevention.
“Since we’ve been on TV a few times earlier in the year,” Feller (Rich, head coach) said. “I’ve gotten about a dozen e-mails or phone calls from moms or dads or coaches with a similar story in volleyball, and soccer or a couple of other sports. There are people out there interested.”
Count us among the interested, and the athletic trainer needs a big “WAY TO GO” for ingenuity and thoughtfulness. Rostratter may be a positive trend setter in concussion prevention and management. Good Luck to the Bears, as they are handling USC as I type.