The football helmet is an essential piece of athletic protective gear primarily used in gridiron football. It usually consists of a rigid hard plastic shell with heavy padding inside, a hard-padded face shield made of either one or several textile-coated steel bars, and a Velcro-strap. It's important to remember that the football helmet doesn't just stop above the player's eyebrows, but goes over the top of the skull at the forehead. This is also where the name “ball helmet” comes from. Many players will use a ball helmet during practice and games. It's a very effective method for keeping the head safe during workouts and game time.
Helmet visors have been popularized by several NFL and college teams in recent years. Most visors are synthetic polyurethane-based, which provide excellent protection for players while also making it easy for them to see and breathe. Some NFL players like the visors to be removable, while others prefer to have them permanently attached.
The face mask is the most vulnerable part of the football helmet. While the traditional shape has been more or less stable over the past few decades, newer versions feature more lightweight materials and draping designs that cover more of the front of the head. Many football helmet manufacturers like Visionsense use advanced mesh technology to create their face masks. Most of these newer designs make use of high-tech air flow control that reduces outside fogging and condensation, which helps prevent fogging from forming during hot summer afternoons.
Football helmets are designed to take big hits. Whether it's a collision during practice or during real game time, every football helmet should be able to absorb some force. Each year, several new developments in materials and padding technologies are being tested for this purpose. Some of these advancements focus on making the padding lighter and more flexible so that players can feel more comfortable and safe when tackling. Others aim to reduce the impact on the spine, so players take less impact when making tackles. Advances in padding technology have resulted in softer and more durable padding that provides more protection in smaller and tighter spaces.
There are many safety improvements that football helmet manufacturers are making each year. One of the most notable is the development of an outer shell that deflects up to 95 percent of head-shot hits. Another advancement focuses on absorbing impacts to the side and top of the skull. A newer shell design absorbs the shock of any impact to the helmet itself and then disperses it to the rest of the body. Standard football helmets have a thin outer shell that takes the initial hit in any collision. But as soon as the player's head starts moving, the shock wave begins to travel down the exterior of the helmet, dissipating into the cranium.
Recent studies show that football helmet safety outweighs the risks of sustaining a concussion or brain injury during every collision. In addition to minimizing the risk of concussions, football helmets are also good at minimizing the risk of severe spinal cord injuries that may occur during any contact sport. Sudden stop and fall accidents involving football helmets cause far fewer reported cases of concussion or spinal cord injury than do hits to other parts of the body.
Riddell is one of the premier football helmet brands. They are particularly known for the padding used in their Riddell helmets. The company has always been upfront about the amount of shock absorption its products offer. The original Riddell helmet was specifically designed to meet FDA standards for sports helmets, and it comes standard in all Riddell helmets. Now, nearly 20 years since the original release, the company has added a polycarbonate shell to its product line. While polycarbonate is not as resistant to impacts as is the carbon fiber or fiberglass, it is still superior in both regards.
The addition of this shell makes Riddell football helmets more energy absorbing than ever before. With its higher density, it offers much more shock absorption than any other helmet on the market today. While the addition of an extra layer of polycarbonate doesn't amount to much in the way of safety compared to the other football helmets on the market, the extra layer does make a big difference in the way a player takes a hit.