Bring An Equalizer to the Fight. Choose a Firm That Was Created to Advocate for Victims.

Is Your Child's Hockey Helmet Unsafe?

A new study raises serious concerns about how well hockey helmets protect young players on the ice. While all helmets must satisfy minimum safety requirements, they do not all provide the same level of impact protection.

The results are particularly concerning given that the sport has the highest rate of concussions. Head injuries are particularly common in hockey because players not only collide with one another, but also hit the sides of the rink.

Researchers at Virginia Tech University conducted laboratory impact tests on 32 models of hockey helmets. The tests simulated the impact of a hockey game, testing each helmet in four directions at three energy levels twice.

The researchers used the data to create a five-star rating system for hockey helmet safety that can help predict the likelihood that the wearer will suffer a concussion. The top-rated helmet only earned three stars. Six helmets earned two stars, 16 helmets received one star, and nine got none. Price appeared to have no effect on how the helmets performed. Many models priced at $100 ranked higher than helmets at double or triple the price.

“Our focus is to improve the safety of the sport, and we have spent a great deal of time developing the methods and relaying these to the manufacturers so that they can optimize their designs,” lead researcher Stefan Duma, head of the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, stated. “Our hope is to see new helmets come into the market with improved performance.”

Virginia Tech previously created a system for football helmets, which is credited with changing the way they are designed. According to the researchers, all five of the football helmet models introduced in 2014 earned top ratings.

As San Diego product liability lawyers, we are hopeful that the hockey helmet rating system prompts manufacturers to make similar changes. In the meantime, parents can find the full ranking on the Virginia Tech Hockey Helmet Ratings website.