Sometimes, the helmet you wear for football needs to be just as good as or even better than the one your school gives you. They won’t allow you to use a helmet that doesn’t keep you safe enough. Your school might have rules about the kinds of helmets and safety gear you’re allowed to use.
In my school, players can use their own helmets if they’re rated by Virginia Tech as being at least as safe as the ones the school provides. Each state also has rules for football gear in high schools.
The Helmet Needs to be Really Good
Virginia Tech has a group that tests helmets to see how well they protect your head from getting hurt. They give helmets stars, up to five stars for the best ones. Some of the best helmets cost more, like over $400, but there’s also one that’s good and costs about $210. Different states have different rules, and your school might have its own rules too. They could use the Virginia Tech rating to decide if a helmet is okay for the school. They don’t always ask for five-star helmets, because the ones they give to students might not have the very best safety rating.
One School’s Rules
Let’s look at Patriot High School in Virginia. They say students can bring their own helmets, but those helmets need to have at least three stars for safety. If you don’t have your own, you can use the school’s helmets and gear. The helmet colors should match the school’s ones. The school keeps the helmets for a while, but when you’re done with the football team, they give it back. If you use your own helmet, you need to fix it yourself. The school won’t pay for parts if you bring your own helmet.
Rules for the Whole State
In Virginia, the state says students must use helmets that are approved by a group called the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Basically, they have to be good enough for safety.
How Helmet Safety Ratings Work?
Virginia Tech does tests to see how good helmets are at keeping our heads safe. They do different tests for different sports. The most important thing is how well a helmet can handle hits that happen in the sport. Helmets that help us not get hurt as much when we hit something get higher scores. Even scientific journals like the Annals of Biomedical Engineering support Virginia Tech’s ratings.
What Makes a Good Football Helmet?
A good football helmet has a really strong outer shell. This shell helps keep you safe from serious injuries. It’s not the only important thing, but it’s a big part. The shell spreads out the force of a hit so it’s not all in one small spot. Also, the helmet is designed to make the hit last a little longer, so it’s not too strong all at once.
Soft Padding Inside
There’s also soft padding inside the helmet. This padding is like a cushion for your head and helps stop injuries in high school football. It’s important because it helps the helmet fit just right. When you have the right amount and type of padding, the helmet won’t move too much when you get hit. It’s really crucial that the helmet fits close to your temples, the sides of your head, and even your jaw. The less room there is, the better protected you are. And, of course, your jaw needs protection too!
Helmet Extras and New Safety Rules in High School Football
Other Things for Your Helmet
Your helmet might not come with a facemask, so you need to check if it fits. A facemask can cover your mouth and sometimes your jaw and nose too. Linemen, who are players in certain positions, might need extra protection for their jaw and nose. Look for a facemask that you can quickly take off in case you get hurt.
Stuff You Need for Your Helmet
You’ll also need a chinstrap, mouth guard, and visor or eye shield. Visors can protect your eyes, but sometimes they’re not allowed because of the rules (especially tinted ones). They go on your facemask. Chinstraps are really important, and your mouthguard helps keep your teeth safe.
New Safety Rules
The people in charge of high school sports have made new rules to make football safer. One rule says you can’t hit a player on purpose if their helmet is off. This is now a foul. If your helmet comes off during the game, you have to stop playing pretty soon. You can finish what you’re doing, but then you have to stop. Players without helmets can’t block or tackle. If your helmet comes off because of someone else’s foul, you’re not penalized. But if it just falls off, you have to sit out for a bit.
Important Things to Remember
- Yep, high school students can usually bring their own helmets. Schools give out helmets, but you can use your own if you want.
- Sometimes schools have rules about helmets. Like, they might need a certain safety rating from a certain group. The state might also have rules about helmets for high school football.
- A place called Virginia Tech rates helmets based on how good they are at stopping concussions (that’s when your brain gets hurt from hitting your head). Some schools use these ratings to make sure helmets are safe enough.
- Since helmets can cost a bit, most students just use the ones from school. The school takes care of fixing and changing them.
- Sometimes students use their own helmets because they look cooler, not just because they’re safer.
Helmets that pro teams use become trendy for high school players. But sometimes, the ones students pick are actually safer than the school ones.