The public has “Consumer Reports” on everyday goods and cars, an open rating system for goods, so why not helmets for football? That was until now as researchers at Virginia Tech have used years of data on hits and helmets to create a database accessible by the public on football helmets;
Stefan Duma and his research assistants unveiled Wednesday a formula derived from years of data collected on the head impacts of football players, including players at Tech. The formula will be used to find the number of concussions that one player may experience in one season using a specific helmet.
The result will be a first-of-its-kind online searchable database of every new helmet being sold. Currently about 25 different adult-size helmets are manufactured by six companies.
This is not as acknowledged by Duma a “perfect” system, however it is a beginning, and we agree that why not start now. Perhaps there will be a owness on the manufacturers with a rating system to be even more vigilant in creating a better product.
The database is expected to be ready by May, some time after all the drop tests have been completed by Duma and his team. All manufacturers were in attendance along with a NOCSAE representative making this an open environment, something that has not been well received up until now. Researchers remind us that adult sizes do not translate to youth sizes and ratings, and the tests will incorporate “new” helmets, not the reconditioned ones. With the cost of new helmets the line may be blurred between what is truly the best helmet on the field.
Remember that anything new is better than old for the mere factor of age and wear. However some people/schools are forced to use inferior and older helmets due to cost. This is indeed a good launching point, we look forward to seeing what results Duma has. As far as we can tell he has not influence from any helmet company and no vested interest in the true results. However we will note that Virginia Tech is a Riddell helmet football team.