Proper helmet recertification happens at a NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) licensed facility (not owned or operated by NOCSAE). Recertification always includes reconditioning.
When football helmets arrive at a reconditioning and recertifcation facility, samples are selected, using a systematic, yet random selection process. These helmets are sent to a in-plant testing lab for specific impact tests.
Manufacturers, using standards developed by NOCSAE, establish expectations about when their helmet must be recertified and reconditioned. This information is always included with a new helmet and available online.
Most manufacturers require helmets to undergo the recertification/reconditioning process after every two seasons, minimum.
Recertification Testing Process
When a helmet is tested, it represents a batch of similar helmets in similar condition all treated same way through the process validating compliance for the batch.
The data from every test is collected and sent to both NOCSAE and NAERA (National Athletic Equipment Reconditioner Association).
No helmet can guarantee that a player will not be injured, or suffer a concussion. Each parent, coach, and volunteer should ensure every helmet is properly cared for by inspecting it before each use, cleaning after each use with mild soap and water, and sending it in for regular reconditioning and recertification.
The NOCSAE website states: “A helmet certified to a NOCSAE standard provides a substantial level of protection for serious head injuries, including concussions, but the NOCSAE helmet standard is not a concussion standard, and no helmet can prevent all concussions, even those certified to the NOCSAE standard.”
Look for the Information
NOCSAE sets the standards—SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) certified NOCSAE helmets are required to meet these standards. Specific labels serve to inform players, parents, volunteers, and coaches about the requirements on every helmet.
Look for the stickers and information on each helmet that show when the helmet was manufactured and when it was recertified and reconditioned.
What is the test?
From the NOCSAE website: “The NOCSAE test standard involves mounting a football helmet on a synthetic head model and dropping it a total of 16 times onto a firm rubber pad, including two each from a height of 60 inches onto six locations at ambient temperatures. Two 60-inch drops onto the side are also conducted immediately after exposure of the helmet to 120 degrees F for four hours. Shock measurements are taken to determine if the helmet meets an established Severity Index for concussion tolerance and thereby meets the NOCSAE Football Helmet standard test. An equivalent to the 60-inch drop test would occur if a player running at 17.9 feet per second (12.2 mph) ran into a flat surface which stopped his head in less than one inch. Most players run faster than this, i.e., the average speed of a player running 40 yards in 4.8. seconds is 25 feet per second, but very rarely would the head be stopped in such a short distance on the football field.”
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