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The NFL has never been proactive against the problem of concussions; in fact, the only reason they have taken such an interest lately is due to the amount of veteran players who have suffered in their twilight years and the amount of law suits which have surfaced. After all, money plays a big role in any business.
With all the problems they face, they simply fine players and make rules that may or may not impact the problem- but they will not address the aspect of this which is the easiest to remedy.
Among all the problems with helmets and the potential dangers of ineffective helmets, the Committee responsible for grading helmets and making recommendations, have failed to do their jobs; at this point, it is up to the players to blindly choose. There is no required helmet to be used in the NFL (National Football League), the players buy their own and that’s that. Some cost more than others but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better.
Virginia Tech research department along with the athletic department have conducted research on various helmets in use throughout football leagues and academic institutions in the U.S. Their research has been made available to the public and to the NFL; research that has evaluated information over the last 10 years, trying to understand collisions in football and the impact the helmets play in a player’s vulnerability to concussions and other head injuries.
The 10 helmets studied have been rated by a Star value system and a star grade in which, the lower the star value, the higher the star rating so to speak. For example, Riddell Revolution speed the highest graded helmet in the group with a 5 star rating received the lowest star value at .297. It is the only helmet with a 5 star rating.
The group with a 4 star rating includes 5 different helmets at 5 different prices. The lowest priced helmet in the group is valued at $169; the Schutt DNA Pro + is the lowest priced in the group of 4 star helmets, but the cheapest overall is the Schutt Air Advantage priced at $159.99.
The Adams A2000 Pro Elite helmets were given the lowest rating, in fact it was given a “Not Recommended” rating, not worthy of even 1 star. This helmet ironically is priced at around $200.
Virginia Tech’s athletic department will follow the recommendations and will change helmets for the upcoming season, hopefully others will follow. One thing that is clear with the helmets is that, the price doesn’t necessarily dictate the value or effectiveness of a helmet. It will be interesting to see if NFL players will adapt as well and if the NFL will require their players to purchase the highest rated helmets after more research is done.