Football Helmet Reconditioning 101

Football helmets take a lot of abuse over the course of a season.  Between practice, games and being thrown in lockers and gym bags in between, helmets can get scratched and scuffed.  Furthermore, the air bladder, pads and hardware can become damaged and compromise safety.

When your child plays football, safety should be your top priority.  There are many ways that helmets can be damaged.  Damage to the shell and structure can make the helmet unsafe.  Football helmets can last up to ten years, but they an annual reconditioning to keep them safe and reliable.

If you want your child to be safe, his helmet should be thoroughly inspected and tested in every way particularly with an air liner test and careful shell inspection.

Football helmets must be reconditioned regularly, but it’s not a job for just anyone.  You should only choose a provider licensed by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).

NOCSAE is a nonprofit standards development body.  Their mission is to improve safety for athletes of all ages.  They pursue this mission through sponsoring scientific research and writing performance standards.  NOCSAE has been leading the charge to improve football helmets and other athletic equipment since 1970.  This is an important step toward reducing concussions and other injuries.

Now that you know how important football helmet reconditioning is, you might wonder what the process looks like.  There are four steps:

  1. Disassembly

First, the helmets are stripped down.  The pads, hardware and face mask are removed and inspected.

  • Cleaning and Sanding

Any decals, labels and stickers are removed and the helmet is sanded to remove small scratches and paint.  Then the helmet is cleaned and sanitized with soap and hot water, then rinsed and dried.

  • Inspection

All interior parts are checked and tested.  Then the shell is closely inspected for cracks and other defects.

  • Refinishing and Redecorating

Painted helmets will be repainted.  Decals and labels are replaced.  Next, the face-mask, hardware and pads are repaired or replaced and reattached.  The last step is a final inspection.  After all that, the helmet gets a recertification seal.  The helmet comes back to you ready for next season.

The cost for reconditioning a helmet is based on the condition of the helmet and what parts need replacing.  Repainting can also add to the cost. The average cost can range from $40 to well over $100 per helmet depending on the helmet and how it has been used and degraded since new or last refurbished.

When it comes to your child’s safety, you shouldn’t take any chances.  An annual reconditioning will help your child’s helmet do its job.

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