Don't mess with Texas when it comes to high school football helmets. In 2012 the Lone Star State became the first requiring schools to make available to football parents records of helmet inventory. Schools are required to have updated records of the age of helmets, as well as when they were last reconditioned.
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Ohio has no such law. During our two-month investigation we encountered repeated instances in which schools could not produce up-to-date records and did not know what helmets made up their inventory. Many schools relied on information from the companies that recondition their equipment.
So what can parents do? We've compiled a list of four questions every parent can ask of their school or coach to learn more about their child's football helmet.
- You want to know the make and model of the helmet to measure it against the Virginia Tech rating system.
- The age of the helmet. No helmet on a football field should be 10 years old or older.
- The reconditioning schedule of the helmets. All schools that responded to our inquiry say they recondition their helmets every year.
- Make sure that the fit of the helmet is correct. A helmet that is too loose or too tight can be a risk.
Helmet Ratings: 2014 Virginia Tech helmet ratings