With National Concussion Awareness Day last week, healthcare professionals are spreading the word! Understanding the signs and symptoms of concussions is key to avoiding and helping to prevent further injuries. Another key is helmet safety. While concussions can’t guarantee concussion prevention, they can help offer protection from severe injuries and act as the first step to safety.
In an InjureFree case study among high school football players, eight concussions were reported within the first month of practice. Of these concussions, all eight athletes wore the same type of helmet purchased by their parents instead of a school-issued one.
- What’s the problem? An untrained salesperson issued all eight helmets and they fit improperly.
- What happened next? Parents were educated on the issue and athletic trainers fitted each athlete with properly fitting helmets.
- As a result, concussion prevalence dramatically decreased! This case study is a great reminder to educate and support athletes on the benefits of regularly checking for proper helmet fit.
10 Steps to Getting the Right Fit:
- Measure the athlete’s head circumference 1 inch above the eyebrows and select the appropriate helmet size according to the manufacturer. Make sure the air bladders are inflated.
- Ensure the helmet fits snugly around the front, sides and crown of the athlete’s head.
- Ensure that there aren’t gaps between the cheek pads and the face.
- Ensure that the helmet sits two finger widths above the eyes.
- Ensure the base of the skull is covered.
- Ensure the chin strap is snug against the chin, preventing the helmet from moving side to side or up and down.
- Ensure that when pressing down on the helmet, the athlete feels pressure on the crown of the head, not the brow, as brow pressure indicates a wrong fit.
- Ensure the helmet doesn’t twist—it only moves with the athlete’s head
- Ensure the face mask is secure, doesn’t block the athlete’s vision and is three finger widths away from the chin
- Finally, ensure the ear holes align with the opening of the ear canal
Take a peek at NATA’s helpful infographic here for more info on proper helmet fit!