An end is in sight to the voluntary standards for youth football helmet safety set forth by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Head injuries in youth football are a serious concern, especially because football has the highest incident of concussions in sports. The Children’s Sport Equipment Safety Act is gaining steam within Congress, it will look to improve the safety of every youth football player on the field.
The current voluntary standards are in desperate need of an overhaul as safety concerns such as concussion risks, aren’t addressed. The focus of the standards as they stand today are prevention of skull fractures. But this is not good enough! New York senator Chuck Schumer is fully backing this law, calling this the “the biggest leap in helmet safety since the day we abandoned leather football helmets.”
Here’s what the new standards address (as it stands now):
- Concussion prevention
- Improved design of youth football helmets
- Rules for reconditioned helmets
- Visible warning labels on helmets
A May 2011 Virginia Tech study compared the safety and effectiveness of the newer youth football helmets in the market. Comprehensive testing was completed with over 120 impacts on each helmet over four helmet points. The findings are clear cut- “the results clearly show that the newer technologies across all manufacturers are significantly better at reducing the risk of concussions compared to the older models,” said Professor Stefan Duma. Since we demand the best safety measures for our kids it’s important that we pay attention to studies such as this. So what was the best performing football helmet? The Riddell Revolution Speed received a 5 star rating.
What will this mean for your organization should this law pass? The helmet manufacturers will have 9 months to up their standards (hopefully they are working on this already). Organizations, keeping financial concerns in mind, will not have to immediately purchase new helmets. When organizations are set to purchase new helmets- they’ll have to adhere to the new law.
Did you know? A high schooler suffered brain damage from being hit in the head soon after encountering a previous concussion. He was wearing a 20 year old helmet when injured.