Football helmet-related injuries account for a significant number of head, face, and neck injuries amongst our athletes each year. Many of these injuries result in emergency room visits and hospitalizations, large medical bills, pain and suffering and potentially long-term damage. Fortunately, you can help prevent your athlete from experiencing football helmet-related injuries and kick off this football season successfully with these seven football helmet safety tips.
Tips to Prevent Helmet Related Football Injury
While the best protection against a football injury is to practice the proper tackling, hitting and blocking techniques, football helmets are an effective solution for reducing the risk of facial and skull fractures, eye injuries and brain bleeds. Here are a few facts about football helmets that you should be aware of in order to help keep your athlete safe under the Friday night lights.
- Helmets Are Not Concussion-Proof: Football coaches, parents, and athletes alike should be aware that football helmets are not concussion-proof. While advertising and other media might attempt to claim that a specific helmet will prevent concussion, it is important to remember that there is no current research available to back up these types of claims.
- NOCSAE Seal: When selecting a football helmet for your athlete be sure to look for theseal of the NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment).
- Altering the Helmet: Never alter your athlete’s helmet in any way. Even adding aftermarket padding can not only adversely affect the safety of the helmet, but is can negate the NOCSAE safety certification as well.
- Size and Fit: It is recommended that someone who is experienced with fitting football helmets assists your athlete with selecting the proper size and fit. Your athlete’s head circumference should be measured and that number should be compared to the sizing chart that is provided by the specific brand. A properly fitting helmet plays a significant role in preventing football injury.
- Helmet Maintenance: Helmets should be reconditioned and recertified by an NOCSAE licensed conditioner at least every two years. Look for a recertification label inside the helmet for verification.
- Older Helmets: Helmets that are more than 10 years old cannot be recertified and must be replaced by newer models.
- Style: Select a style that fits your athlete’s head snugly and feels comfortable. It’s important to remember that your athlete’s head shape is unique and one style of helmet may be more suitable.