About Hard Knocks

On Long Island, there are 116 high schools with football programs.

Beginning in April 2015, Newsday obtained current helmet inventories from the 107 public schools through Freedom of Information Law requests. Newsday requested the same information from the nine private schools, which are not required by law to oblige. Only Long Island Lutheran provided the inventory.

Newsday also obtained concussion reporting from the 2014 football season from 102 public schools through FOIL requests. Five schools declined, citing student privacy laws. Newsday made the same request of the nine private schools. Only Long Island Lutheran and Bishop McGann-Mercy complied.

Newsday compared the helmet inventories with safety ratings that Virginia Tech researchers have been publishing since 2011.

This report is the result of a seven-month examination that included more than 80 interviews with neurologists, researchers, helmet manufacturers, Long Island superintendents, athletic directors, coaches, parents and players.