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Summary of NOCSAE Meeting: January 20-21

Date: 1/24/12

Youth Football Helmet Standard Was Key Topic Of Discussion

SILVER SPRING, MD – January 24, 2012 -- At this past weekend’s (January 20-21) meeting of the NOCSAE Board of Directors, the NOCSAE Board voted to move the proposed Youth Football Helmet Standard back to draft status for further evaluation and review. The board had moved the Youth Football Helmet Standard to proposed status at its June 2011 meeting, which allowed the public to comment on the proposed standard.

After the comment period and a public forum meeting, which was held last November, it was determined the transition point at which a player would move from the ‘youth’ helmet standard to the ‘adult’ helmet standard, proposed at 14 years of age, was not well supported. The many physical, physiological and environmental factors to indicate such a transition point are far from well known or understood.  An over-reliance on age alone would minimize and overlook critical factors such as player weight, musculature and overall physical development.

The proposed standard also placed a mass restriction of 1300 grams on the helmet with a facemask and all the accessories.  The NOCSAE Board determined that while there may be certain benefits associated with lower helmet weights in the area of athletic performance, there is no science available to support the proposed weight limit as a protective benefit.  This weight restriction has the potential to reduce helmet protective capability and durability by forcing removal of critical materials.   

With the lack of quantitative science to support the proposed Youth Football Helmet Standard, the NOCSAE Board approved moving the proposed standard back to draft form for further review by the NOCSAE Scientific Advisory Committee.  Additionally, the NOCSAE Board asked the Scientific Advisory Committee to look at additional research projects to develop scientifically supported definitions for ‘youth’ play, health parameters and the concept of weight restrictions.

SGMA applauds NOCSAE's efforts in the development of the current standard for football helmets and NOCSAE's continuous efforts to refine and improve that standard. NOCSAE's concern for, and actions to enhance, athlete safety are well documented. We support additional research that illuminates specific factors that make ‘youth’ football play unique, which are not addressed with current football helmets. The best interests of the athlete are served through carefully reasoned application of research to the performance standards for the equipment used in play.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA Research, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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