When the doctor told Joseph Mason Reeves, a US Naval Academy midshipman, to quit playing football after getting a series of head injuries or else, he’d end up having his brain permanently damaged leading to insanity or even death, the ending was almost clear to the onlookers: that it’s sure enough that Reeves had to give up the sport he was so passionate about. After all, the decision he was about to make was already a matter between life and death.
But like a typical Hollywood movie, a surprising twist happened. Reeves loved the sport so much that for him, quitting was never an option. So, did he take the risk? Did he end up brain-damaged after the match? History says he thought of a much better approach to protect his head during the game.
He asked a local shoemaker to make a padded, mushroom-shaped rain cap—a head protector he wore during the 1893 Army-Navy match. And that was one of the first ever worn football helmets in the entire history of the sport.
Of course, it didn’t look like the standard football helmets you’re seeing today. It was a good start though since it kindled a realization among the many football enthusiasts—that football is not a very safe sport, so a set of protective gear is needed to avoid both minor and serious injuries. That said, you’ll choose to be a bit pickier than you actually are, when selecting the right football helmet. It is a crucial component of the protective gear so you wouldn’t want to compromise the quality of protection it can provide for anything else, not even for a cheaper price.
Factors You Should Consider
No expert will tell you that wearing a helmet guarantees a hundred percent protection from possible risks and injuries common in football matches. Untoward incidents can still happen despite wearing a full set of protective gear. What a football helmet can do, however, is to reduce the risk of serious injuries such as brain hemorrhage, skull and facial fractures as well as penetration and eye injuries.
The good news is that this kind of head protector is pretty successful in shielding a player from all of these hazards. So, you’d surely want to know the factors you should consider when choosing one. After all, who wants to choose the wrong helmet? Read on to learn how you can pick the best one for you. You can also check this reference.
Does it have the NOCSAE seal?
Don’t buy a helmet that has not been approved or certified by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). The NOCSAE is the U.S. body that has been in charge for carefully inspecting and reviewing helmets and other athletic gears as based on their given set of standards to ensure the safety and quality of the items.
Passing this certification means that the manufacturer had seriously strived to meet the conditions and standards of the body during the design and creation process of their sports products. Thus, the athlete wearing a helmet that’s NOCSAE-approved can be quite confident that they’re using a high-quality protective gear.
So, the next time you’re choosing among the options available, find that “Meets NOCSAE standards” stamp at the back of the helmet you wish to buy. It’s just wise not to consider anything that doesn’t possess this stamp because it only means that the gear has not been reviewed and certified by the rightful authority that has been appointed for this task. And if we spell it out, it only shows that it is not as safe as you expect it to be.
Pro tip: Never alter a NOCSAE-certified helmet in any way. Otherwise, it could invalidate the certification given by the body.
Know the right head circumference
Before purchasing one, measure your head circumference. Measure by placing the cloth tape just an inch above your eyebrows. Then, select the appropriate helmet size as based on your head circumference from the brand’s sizing chart to make sure that it fits just right, not too tight, not too loose.
Pro tip: If your head circumference falls somewhere between the brand’s sizes, opt for the smaller one. Also, take a look at this useful review that features top 5 options you may want to consider.
Know how to fit the helmet properly.
How tight is a perfectly snug football helmet? The basic rule of thumb is that it should be tight and secure but comfortable. The fit should be snugger than a helmet used for biking or batting. The pads for both cheeks should not slide loosely. However, the forehead skin should move along with the helmet.
Do a little bit of test as well by applying hand pressure on top of it. The pressure shouldn’t feel concentrated on just one side of the helmet, either front or back. Rather, it should feel evenly distributed. There are many brands and styles to choose from and they have obvious differences. What might be good for somebody else might not be good for you. Pick the one that fits just right and most comfortable on your head.
Also, teen athletes shouldn’t try to use adult helmets since these could be too heavy for them. Instead of providing utmost protection, it could even pose serious hazards. And so, teen players should use the ones appropriate for their age.
If you’re going to wear a used helmet, make sure it is reconditioned already.
It is not advisable to wear a used helmet unless it has been recertified already by a NOCSAE-licensed reconditioner. So, if you plan on buying a secondhand, look for the recertification seal inside the helmet to make sure it has been reconditioned already.
Follow these tips and you can surely find the best one for you. Better yet, ask someone who’s well-experienced on choosing good football helmets to accompany you while you’re shopping around and comparing options.