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Study: Many hockey helmets unsafe

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Interesting study by Virginia Tech on Helmet safety

They did a helmet safety study for football helmets in 2011


"More than a quarter of all helmets worn by hockey players, from the NHL to youth leagues, are unsafe,"

"Out of 32 helmets in the marketplace that were tested by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, nine failed to earn a single star on a five-star scale and were classified as "not recommended." Just one helmet, made by Warrior Sports, received three stars. The rest received one or two stars."

"Virginia Tech defines five stars as the "best available" helmet; one star is "marginal."

The two most expensive hockey helmets on the market, made by Bauer and CCM, received one-star ratings.

"Nearly 2.4 million Americans play hockey, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, has a higher rate of concussions than any other sport. The Virginia Tech study raises questions about the methods by which hockey helmets are tested and adds fuel to the debate over whether helmets can do much to prevent concussions, an injury that is difficult to diagnose and dependent on myriad factors ranging from individual tolerance to neck strength."

"Four years ago, Virginia Tech's newly introduced STAR system shook up the football helmet industry. The school received legal threats from some companies, which claimed that the ratings were overly simplistic and unfair. One company whose helmet was not recommended went out of business. But football helmets quickly improved: Just one initially received five stars, yet out of 26 helmets tested in the most recent ratings, 12 received five stars and eight received four stars.

How the hockey helmet industry will respond is unclear. While the study was in progress, Duma invited manufacturers to Virginia Tech to explain the science behind the ratings and try to stave off another backlash. But the findings are worse for the hockey helmet industry than they were for football."

"Bauer, which sells more hockey helmets than any other company, received low ratings for all 12 of its helmets (including its sister company, Mission): Two helmets received two stars; seven received one star; and three were not recommended. The company's most expensive helmet, the RE-AKT 100, which sells for $269.99, earned a lower rating (one star), than its least expensive helmet, the Bauer 2100 (two stars), which sells for $34.99."

"Other major helmet companies also received low ratings. Out of 12 helmets sold by Reebok and CCM, which are part of the same company, three received two stars, five received one star and four were not recommended. CCM's most expensive helmet, the Resistance, which sells for $229.99, received one star."

Maker-- Model-- Star* - Price

Warrior Krown 360- 3* $79.98

CCM/Reebok RES 300- 2* $159.99

Bauer 5100- 2* $89.99

Warrior Krown LTE- 2* $119.99

Reebok 11K- 2* $159.99

Bauer 2100- 2* $34.99

CCM/Reebok RES 100- 2* $74.99

CCM/Reebok V08-1* $74.99

Reebok 4K -1* $49.98

Tour Hockey Spartan GX -1 $67.00

Bauer IMS 9.0 -1* $139.99

Easton E300 -1* $29.98

Bauer 7500 -1* $99.99

Easton E700- 1* $129.98

CCM/Reebok Resistance- 1* $229.99

Mission/Bauer M15- 1* $26.98

Bauer RE-AKT 100- 1* $269.99

Bauer RE-AKT- 1* $199.99

Bauer IMS 11.0 -1* $159.99

Reebok 7K- 1* $99.99

Easton E600- 1* $79.98

CCM/Reebok V06- 1* $54.99

Mission/Bauer Inhaler- 1* $98.99

Bauer 9900- 0* $99.98

Bauer 4500- 0* $69.99

Reebok 5K -0* $84.99

Reebok 3K -0* $39.99

Reebok 8K -0* $49.98

Easton E400- 0* $44.98

Tour Hockey Sptn ZX Pro- 0* $88.47

Bauer IMS 7.0- 0* $119.99

CCM/Reebok V04- 0* $49.99

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Any word on the safety of JOFA helmets?

I used to wear this from 1990 to 1997 whenever I played full-gear afternoon pick up hockey at the Esquimalt Rec Centre in Victoria...me and one other guy from Finland. Had to go full on CCM with visor when I played Victoria Hockey League for my safety because there were some big boys who played like they still had a shot at making the pros.

The JOFA egg-shell helmet had two stickers on it...the first read "approved by the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation"...the second read "not approved by Canadian Amateur Hockey Association".

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I'd be curious to know what kinds of test they're using that are different, and subsequently if helmet makers will do more to make helmets safer as a result or just tailor helmets to perform well on the tests.

I specifically looked for the helmet Willie Mitchell wears as I remember him having spent a lot of time checking out the best designs after his concussion. The Cascade M11 isn't there, but I see from pictures now he appears to be wearing the Bauer IMS 11.0, which is really the same thing. That only got 1 star so will we see him change helmets?

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I just wanna know what tests they're doing in which a 2100/5100 are outperforming a re-akt 100..... 5100 is plausible with the hx-sorb in there but the 2100 is just 2 different kinds of "comfort" foam. No EPP, no VN... it doesn't make sense.

Plus the general rule of thumb is that fit matters more than foam. The 2100 has the worst adjustability of any helmet. You loosen a screw and pull the helmet to make it bigger or smaller.. Whereas a re-akt 100 you can fine tune the fit at multiple points of the head.

I'd personally take these with a grain of salt unless they go into much more detail about what tests are performed and how they're performed..

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Any word on the safety of JOFA helmets?

6 stars out 5.

*The actual structural integrity of the helmet is weak, however what it lacks in strength it makes up for in style. The JOFA helmet has been known to create a force field around that forces opposing players to bow down in awe when they see your curly salad flowing out of this vintage Viking masterpiece of a helmet.

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Some very good points, basically, concussions will remain in sports for the interim since the cause of them is still debated, although it is widely believed to be the brain striking the inside of the skull after a significant impact. Producing a helmet that restricts brain movement is rather tricky.

The star system is flawed as this was a concussion test only, and a very limited one, and didn't bother going into any detail about the more typical light to medium force of contact the helmets will typically see.

Those tests have already been done by CSA though on many helmets. Are they more thorough? I don't know.

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