Decade-Old Football Helmets Are On Their Way Out For Our Kids


Posted on 12th March 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Parents who have kids who play football can rest a little bit easier: Manufacturers are going to stop refurbishing helmets that are more than 10 years old.

The New York Times reported that the trade association that monitors the refurbishing of old helmets, the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (Naera), on Thursday said it would no longer take helmets that were more than a decade old.

There is a rub. High school and youth football governing bodies only require that helmets pass a standard that has been set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (Nocsae). According to The Times, that basically means that old helmets can be worn by young players, even if those helmets are really not protecting kids from concussions the way they should.

Schools can have their football helmets reconditioned on a voluntary basis.

So what’s the bottom line?

“Naera’s decision to reject helmets more than 10 years old will force organizations to choose between purchasing new helmets or putting youngsters in used helmets known to be less safe,” according to The Times.

In fact, the newspaper quotes some experts that believe now old helmets will be put out of circulation.

Naera is reacting to pressure that started when the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) began a probe of football helmet safety. And Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., also requested that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the two major helmet makers, Riddell and Schutt, for allegely making false claims about the safety of their helmets.

There has also been a call in Washington for a hearing on football helmet safety, including the use of old helmets, The Times reported.

Even though experts warn against the safety risk of using old helmets, the National Federation of State High School Assocations has lets schools decide what kind of helmets they want to use, including old ones. Why? New helmets cost more than refurbished ones. 

School budgets are getting cut these days, but someone better find the funds to pay for gear that protects our kids.    

Sen. Udall Asks FTC To Investigate Safety Claims On Football Helmets

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Posted on 4th January 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., has asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the “misleading safety claims” he alleges are being made by helmet makers and refurbishers, according to The New York Times.

The Times reported Tuesday that Udall had written a letter to FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz that charged that ads from the two main helmet manufacturers are deceptive, particularly making false safety claims about helmets for children.

In particular, Udall singled out the National Football League’s official helmet maker, Riddell, for its claim that its Revolver helmets cut concussion risk by 31 perent, The Times reported.

The senator also griped about the sketchy test standards used for new and old helmets.

“Athletes who have already suffered a concussion — as well as their coaches and parents — may be particuarly susceptioble to misleading marketing claims about helmet safety,” Udell said in his letter calling for the FTC to launch an investigation into the matter.

A Riddell executive told The Times that he welcomed the FTC’s scrutiny, while Riddell’s competitor Schutt said that it had never claimed that its helmets were “concussion proof.”

The Times said that 1 million new helmets, priced from $150 to $400 each, are sold each season for the 4.4 million students under 18 who play organized football.

Sen. Udall’s  call for an FTC investigation is well-founded, and could end up in the production of safer helmets for our kids as well as pro-football players.  





NFL Holds Summit On Updating Helmet Safety Standards


Posted on 13th December 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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The National Football League last week held a summit on how safety standards for football helmets can be modernized and improved, gathering equipment makers, physicists and “military biomechanists” for the discussion, according to The New York Times.

The problem today with helmets is that they are designed to protect a player from injuries such as skull fractures, but not to guard against more subtle and hidden brain trauma, like concussions. The Times has done several stories about the fact that the helmet-safety guides set by the National Organizing Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment haven’t changed since 1973.

There apparently was a lot of talk and little agreement during last Wednesday’s summit in Manhattan, except on one point: That the football helmets worn by youth players should have different standards than those for NFL players. While the youth helmets are lighter, their performance specs are the same as for the pros, despite their physical differences, according to The Times.

Also at the meeting, several equipment managers also demonstrated their “in-helmet accelerometers,” which can help identify the collisions that cause concussions.

The issue of helmet safety is an ongoing study. The Consumer Products Safety Commission last week said it would investigate helmet standards, which it is doing at the request of Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico.

There is already research being done, involving hundreds of high school  and college students, by the University of North Carolina and Virginia Tech on impact levels and concussions, The Times reported. But there is no such research yet for pro players.