Summer has officially arrived. As the days are getting longer and summer sports are getting started, we know Friday night football seems like it’s 100 yards away. But now is the time to think about football helmet safety.
Helmets play a critical role in keeping our young football players safer. It’s likely that a lot of families can’t afford to buy helmets for their children, so they rely on the football program to provide safe equipment. Helmets should not be older than 10 years and should be reconditioned every 1-2 years. Research shows that a reconditioned football helmet protects just as well as a new one, but using helmets that have not been reconditioned may lead to more serious injuries.
Ask the football coach, the school athletic director, or the commissioner of the youth football league about the helmet reconditioning schedule. If they haven’t sent helmets off to be reconditioned for the fall season, now is the time to do it. If they tell you, “It’s not in the budget,” remind them that reconditioning a helmet usually costs less than half the price of purchasing a new helmet. (Other questions? Click here to find out more about reconditioning.)
If you choose to buy your kid's football helmet, you don’t need to buy the most expensive one. The most important things to know are:
1. The helmet needs to have the NOCSAE seal. This is required by the National Federation of State High School Associations for high school football. All helmets with the NOCSAE seal meet safety standards – you don’t need to buy the most expensive one.
2. Whether you are buying a helmet or using one provided by the football program, make sure it fits your child well. Unlike jeans or a winter coat, a helmet is not something you want your child to grow into. A trained coach or athletic trainer can help ensure proper fit.
You are the best advocate for your child’s safety. Start prepping for the 2016 season today with a helmet check: NOCSAE seal, new or properly reconditioned, and correct fit.
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