Mastroeni wearing headgear as precaution, to raise awareness

Captain influenced by letter from fifth-grader to wear head protection at start of camp

Pablo Mastroeni was not planning on wearing the protective headgear this year that many athletes wear after returning from concussion symptoms. However a letter he received from a fifth-grader during the offseason changed his mind.

"He sent me a science project that he did about the impact that a soft helmet has on hard hits in soccer," Mastroeni told ColoradoRapids.com before departing for Arizona. "So I'm going to wear it in the beginning part of the season when it's cool, and we'll have to adjust as we go on."

The helmet did not hold back the 15-year veteran at all during the first week of preseason training. He attacked the ball - on the ground or in the air - without any hesitation or apprehension.

"It's something that needs to be taken seriously, and anything that can help with any type of hard impact and aliviate some of that, is useful," Mastroeni said. "It's not just for me, but for everyone else out there that has struggled with these symptoms."

Mastroeni hasn't decided when, or, if, he'll stop wearing the protective headgear. For now, he wants others to know how important it is to be aware of potential head injuries.

"It's not uncomfortable," he said. "It doesn't obstruct my view. I think the little it would do says a lot as far as prevention and raising awareness for what's going on in the sports world these days."

Wearing the helmet, Mastroeni on Tuesday took part in his first match against an MLS side since last March, starting and playing 45 minutes of the preseason loss to Portland in Tucson.