With safety concerns mounting and new concussion research taking place every season, the football helmet has quickly become one of the most scrutinized pieces of protective apparel in sports.
Each year, manufacturers introduce new technologies to make their helmets more equipped to handle head impacts, rotational forces and linear impacts that occur during standard course of play. And now there are two laboratory studies that give us even more insight into how football helmets work.
In 2011, Virginia Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics released its first STAR rating system, putting football helmets to test in a lab environment. The study assigns a rating to each helmet and breaks them into six categories ranging from five stars (Best Available) to zero stars (Not Recommended).
In 2014, the NFL followed suit, forming an Engineering Subcommittee as part of its existing Head, Neck and Spine Committee. The subcommittee completed its first project in July of 2015, a helmet study jointly sponsored by the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA). Initially, the study set a threshold and broke 10 of the 17 helmets into a “Top Performing Group” meaning none was statistically significant from the others. Continue reading “What’s In A Football Helmet Safety Rating?”