How are football helmets tested?
Helmets selected to be tested are mounted on an instrumented head model and tested before and after reconditioning in accordance with the NOCSAE Standard and NAERA By-Laws. The testing includes various impact energies, standard and random locations under controlled environmental conditions. Acceleration measurements are taken to determine if the helmet meets an established Severity Index (SI) requirement. SI is a scientifically accepted measurement of human injury tolerance. Some required impacts are equivalent to running in excess of 12 MPH into a flat surface, which stops a player’s head suddenly. Some players run faster than this but seldom if ever experience an impact as violent as the NOCSAE test.
Who tests football helmets for compliance with NOCSAE Test Standards?
Manufacturers test their own helmets as they are produced. Licensed reconditioners/ recerifiers test used helmets themselves, using NOCSAE recertification protocol to the performance levels applicable when the helmet was produced.
Are all football helmets recertified NOCSAE drop tested?
No. A statistically relevant sample are tested. One of the benefits of using a NAERA member to recertify helmets is the emphasis on quality control
How are baseball and softball helmets tested?
During the reconditioning/recertification process a percentage of Baseball/Softball and Catcher helmets are impacted in the side position and in one other location on the helmet at 13.89 + ft/sec in accordance with the NOCSAE standard for recertification.
How are lacrosse helmets and facemasks tested?
During the reconditioning/recertification process a percentage of lacrosse helmets are impacted in the front position and in one other location on the helmet at 16.04 + ft/sec in accordance with the NOCSAE standard for recertification of lacrosse helmets.
How long will helmets stay in certified condition? What happens when a helmet no longer meets the standard?
On January 1, 2017 NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) put into effect standard 6.1.1 shown below.
NOCSAE 6.1.1. Helmets intended to be recertified shall have a recertification interval provided by the manufacturer. Certification life is limited to this time period. Helmets not recertified during the stated interval shall no longer be certified. Recertification interval required for warranty validation shall satisfy this requirement.
NAERA (National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association) recommends every football helmet should be reconditioned annually. Only companies licensed by NOCSAE to recertify football, lacrosse and baseball/softball helmets can perform the recertification. For a list of NAERA members that are licensed by NOCSAE please visit the NAERA web site www.NAERA.net.
Helmets that no longer meet the NOCSAE standard are rejected from the reconditioning/recertification process. NAERA members notify the organization or school that sent in the helmets of the rejected helmets.
How can I determine if a helmet neets the NOCSAE helmet test standards?
Those helmets, which meet the NOCSAE standard, must bear the seal, “Meets NOCSAE standards” and the logo for that type of helmet. The seal and logo are permanently branded or stamped or affixed on the outside rear portion of the helmet.
Can a helmet which bears the NOCSAE seal be altered or repaired without legal ramifications?
A helmet should not be altered. Any change or modification in the configuration of the shell or liner materials from manufacturing specifications could substantially alter the performance of the helmet as a unit, causing a change in helmet performance, and possibly exposing the individual responsible to liability. Individual helmet models are certified in the condition and configuration in which they were manufactured, and any alteration, modification, or change from the manufacturing specifications could affect the model’s performance on the NOCSAE certification test. By following proper installation procedures and using replacement parts, which meet or exceed original manufacturer specifications, skilled repair of a football helmet should not affect the integrity of the energy attenuation system. It is suggested that the manufacturer be consulted before any materials are applied to the helmet such as, but not limited to, paint, wax, thinners, solvents, vinyl tape designs, cleaning agents, etc.
When a football face mask is replaced under the guidelines of the manufacturer, does a helmet lose its certification?
No. The NOCSAE Football Helmet Standard does not include the testing of helmets with facemasks. If, in the attachment of a mask, procedures other than those recommended by the manufacturer are used, then it is the discretion and responsibility of the institution and its employees to determine if the helmet should be submitted for recertification.
Which reconditioners can recertify previously certified football helmets?
Only those helmets, which met the NOCSAE test standards when manufactured, may be recertified.
All NAERA members are licensed by NOCSAE and comply with the recertification standards and may recertify helmets. An appropriate NOCSAE seal affixed by the reconditioner inside the helmet identifies such recertified helmets: “This helmet has been RECERTIFIED according to the procedures established to meet the NOCSAE STANDARD”.