How Safe are Football Helmets?

Joe Inzenga

Why are Parents Worried to Let Their Son Play High-School Football?

Less and less kids are trying out for football. A huge part of that is because their parents won't let them. Why is this you may ask? The concussion rate is continuing to increase. (Sports)

There has been eight high school football deaths since the beginning of the season. Five of them were from head or neck injuries. Concussions are on the rise and have been huge concerns for many seasons. There are many things to try to improve safety, but a simple way is by getting full-time athletic trainers. Just 37% of U.S. public high schools have them, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. (Sports)


Sports, Erik. "Is the Future of High School Football on the Line?" USA Today. Gannett, 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

Does the Type of Helmet Affect the Concussion Rate?

Riddell developed a Revolution helmet in 2002. It was specifically made to reduce concussions. Also another helmet company by the name of Schutt Sports Group designed a new helmet of its own called DNA. The annual rate of concussion was 5.3% for players wearing the Revolution helmet and a 7.6% for players wearing standard helmets according to a three-year, Riddell-financed study of high-school players by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Gaffney) This shows that the type of helmet can help reduce concussions. It may not be a huge difference, but it is an improvement. It'll do it even if that means a little at a time.


Gaffney, Andrew. "10 Steps in the High-Tech Evolution of Pro Football Helmets." Popular Mechanics. 17 Dec. 2009. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Do We Have The Technology?

Several college football programs will be using the new Riddell SpeedFlex helmet and InSite Impact Response System in 2014. The helmet is designed to disperse energy, reducing the risk of trauma, while the InSite is intended to alert coaches when a player suffers a significant hit to the head, or multiple hits that combine to pose a risk. (Fuhrmeister)

Like InSite, the HIT System is a network of sensors inside helmets, which alerts sideline staff to the number of hits, and potentially serious hits, a player takes. (Fuhrmeister)

SpeedFlex builds upon technology used in earlier helmet models. Some of its features:

  • Selected parts of the helmet flex, in order to reduce impact-force transfer to the athlete's head. Flex is engineered into the helmet's shell, facemask, and attachment system.

  • A new ratchet-style chinstrap attachment system was developed based on player feedback and is meant to be a new way to secure proper fit each play.

  • A redesigned interior liner that conforms to the shape of a player's head and fits the contours of the helmet shell (crown, back/side, occipital, lock, faceframe) for improved comfort and fit (Fuhrmeister)


Fuhrmeister, Chris. "New Riddell SpeedFlex Football Helmet Pits Technology vs. Concussions." 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.