Safety Group Warns: No Helmet Can Prevent Concussions

February 7, 2011

The non-profit organization that sets safety standards for sports equipment is warning athletes and their parents to not rely on football helmet makers’ marketing and promotional materials for information about concussion protection.

“Claims or representations that a particular helmet is anti-concussive or concussion-proof, without scientific support, can be misleading and dangerous,” Mike Oliver, executive director of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), said in a statement.

Oliver said there have been safety improvements in football helmets over the last 20 years and his organization believes that technology will continue to improve. But, he said “there is one fundamental fact every athlete and parent of an athlete needs to know: no football helmet can prevent all concussions.”

The National Football League and other sports organizations have studied helmet safety as medical research has raised questions about head injuries, their frequency and their long-term effects on players.

Federal officials have also begun looking into helmet standards.

For the most reliable information regarding helmets and concussion protection and prevention, NOCSAE encourages athletes and parents to carefully review:

  • Hang tags that come with all new football helmets that address the helmet’s abilities and limitations
  • Informational booklets developed by manufacturers that contain critical information about the helmet’s abilities and limitations
  • Warning information that is prominently affixed to the exterior of every helmet
  • Free downloadable resources created by the Centers for Disease Control regarding concussion recognition, response and prevention. Those resources can be found at

The group also recommends that any helmet that is older than two years should be reconditioned and recertified to the NOCSAE standard. Helmets that have been recertified will have a recertification statement and label inside the helmet.

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