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NOCSAE and Helmet Sensors: An Ounce Of Prevention

There is still confusion about the recent position, or should I say positions, taken by NOCSAE over the past month, first deciding that the certification of any helmet with a third-party add-on would be viewed as automatically void, then, this past week, making a 180-degree U-turn and leaving it up to the helmet manufacturers to decide whether affixing impact sensors to the inside or outside of a helmet voided the certification.  Unless you read my article on NOCSAE's original decision and Lindsay Barton's this past week on its clarification, and perhaps even if you did, you are probably scratching your head and wondering what the heck is going on!

Well, I am scratching my head, too.

With all the controversy surrounding NOCSAE's recent rulings on the effect of third-party add-ons on helmet certification, what Brooke de Lench and others are wondering is why NOCSAE isn't asking the helmet manufacturers to explain to them and the rest of us how a 2-ounce piece of plastic stuck to a 4+ pound football helmet has them so worried?  Whether the NOCSAE rulings were intended to put the brakes on the market for helmet sensors to give the helmet manufacturers time to catch up, it is hard to see how it won't have exactly that effect, she says.

NOCSAE Voiding of Certification For Sensor-Equipped Helmets: A Big Blow To Player Safety

Last week many of the technology manufacturers who have been working diligently to produce products to make helmeted sports such as football safer were dealt a severe, if not crippling, blow by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) when, out of the blue, it decided to view modification of helmets with third-party after-market add-ons as voiding its certification, which could only be regained if the helmet is retested with the add-on. Newcastle Racers wearing three different football helmets

Brooke de Lench believes that the new NOCSAE ruling voiding the certification for sensor-equipped helmets could not have come at a worse time, just as football - from the youth level to the NFL - is gearing up for the 2012 season. If not reversed or modified, de Lench fears that it will have harsh real-world consequences; not just on sensor manufacturers but on player safety and consumer choice.
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