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What are the safety standards for football helmets?

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) is responsible for developing safety standards for football equipment. The NOCSAE label must be present on all football helmets. Football helmets must also include padding, air systems, a chin strap, and a face mask. The padding serves as a shock absorber placed at the head, jaw, and nose. The air system decreases the amount of pressure in the helmet; the smaller amount of pressure, the less space there is for the head to move and hit the sides of the helmet. The chin strap must be present to hold the chin in place, while also holding the helmet firmly on the head; it provides stability.

There are several types of classifications on face helmets based on the position of the player. The front of the helmet needs to be approximately 1 inch above the player’s eyebrows. Also, the skin of the forehead should move with the helmet to ensure that there is no excess space inside the helmet. (This answer provided for NATA by the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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