Despite prices, promises, and even ratings systems, all helmets approved for high school football players appear to offer similar protection against concussion, according to a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
[Photo: Dr. Dawn Comstock]
After six years of work with different schools to study the make, model, and age of every helmet being used by players on the field, Colorado School of Public Health associate professor,Dr. Dawn Comstock, senior author of the study discovered that all helmets evaluated in the study performed similarly.
Different than traditional analyses, this study evaluated helmets while in and based off of performance – i.e. when worn by young athletes playing the game, rather than laboratory impact testing. The data indicated that helmet rating scales may be somewhat misleading to parents or schools considering helmet purchases, as higher ratings based on laboratory testing did not necessarily correlate to increased protection “on the field” for high school football players.
If parents wish to play an active role in ensuring safety for their children, Dr. Comstock recommends they insist that their schools follow the reconditioning guidelines of manufacturers. The study concluded that as long as the helmets had a NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) seal, a National Federation of State High School Association requirement for high school football, they provided similar protection.
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