The NFL and the NFL Players Association have released the results of an annual laboratory study on helmet safety.
Based on the results of this study, the NFL and NFLPA will prohibit 10 helmet models starting in the 2018 season. Six models are prohibited immediately. The other four may be worn by players who used them in 2017 but may not be adopted by new players. Previously, NFL players could choose any helmet that passed current National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment certification standards.
The prohibited helmets performed poorly in laboratory testing, have been discontinued by the manufacturer or were produced by companies that no longer manufacture football helmets.
The results of the laboratory tests will be displayed on posters and shared with NFL players, equipment managers, and medical, training and coaching staffs to help inform equipment choices. Players should also consider factors including fit, comfort, durability, player position and the player's medical history when choosing a helmet.
The goal of the study was to determine which helmets best reduced head impact under laboratory conditions. The tests simulated concussion-causing impacts sustained by NFL players during games. The testing involved 34 helmet models, which make up 98 percent of all helmets currently in use.
The tests were conducted by an independent helmet testing laboratory, Biokinetics Inc. of Ottawa, Canada. The study formulation, experimental design and data analysis was performed by biomechanical engineering consultants appointed by the NFL and NFLPA. An independent biostatistician, Dr. Timothy McMurry, Assistant Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Virginia’s Department of Public Health Sciences, assisted in the analysis. The results were then presented to NFL Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills, and NFLPA Medical Director, Dr. Thom Mayer.
Note: the results of this study should not be extrapolated to collegiate, high school or youth football.