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NOCSAE's Statement On Virginia Tech Helmet STAR Rating System

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) advocates ongoing research on athletic safety in order to gain a deeper understanding of protecting athletes from concussions. However, NOCSAE does not recommend that parents and athletes form decisions on the safest and most effective equipment based on any single individual data point, rating, or measurement, including the Virginia Tech STAR football helmet rating system. Doing so may lead to inaccurate conclusions that one helmet brand or model has a measurably higher level of concussion protection than another for a particular athlete.

Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1dloP)

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) advocates ongoing research on athletic safety in order to gain a deeper understanding of protecting athletes from concussions. However, NOCSAE does not recommend that parents and athletes form decisions on the safest and most effective equipment based on any single individual data point, rating, or measurement, including the Virginia Tech STAR football helmet rating system. Doing so may lead to inaccurate conclusions that one helmet brand or model has a measurably higher level of concussion protection than another for a particular athlete.

Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1dloP)

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) advocates ongoing research on athletic safety in order to gain a deeper understanding of protecting athletes from concussions. However, NOCSAE does not recommend that parents and athletes form decisions on the safest and most effective equipment based on any single individual data point, rating, or measurement, including the Virginia Tech STAR football helmet rating system. Doing so may lead to inaccurate conclusions that one helmet brand or model has a measurably higher level of concussion protection than another for a particular athlete.

"As stated in the STAR FAQ on the Virginia Tech website, the STAR rating system is 'a theoretical calculation that is based on a probabilistic analysis of impact exposure and injury risk.'  This theoretical calculation relies on a single head acceleration criteria to predict the probability of a concussion, which is a complex event involving different and changing forces, linear and rotational accelerations, impact duration, player concussion history, overall health, helmet fit, and potentially even genetics.  

"Additionally, and perhaps of most importance, is that this ranking system, to the extent it may be predictive, is limited to only starting collegiate players wearing an adult large helmet. To quote again the Virginia Tech website 'it is not safe to extrapolate the findings to youth football helmets. The STAR evaluation system was developed based on the head impact exposure of collegiate football players.'  

"There is no indication from the STAR system or published methodology that a large size in one model will test the same as a medium or small or youth size in the same model, and to assume that the STAR value will apply across the board for all sizes of the same model is not safe, and potentially harmful.

"NOCSAE urges parents and athletes to gather all the facts about football helmets and concussion protection from a variety of reliable sources. Athlete safety is too important to rely on only one partial measurement of helmet performance.

Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1dloP)

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) advocates ongoing research on athletic safety in order to gain a deeper understanding of protecting athletes from concussions. However, NOCSAE does not recommend that parents and athletes form decisions on the safest and most effective equipment based on any single individual data point, rating, or measurement, including the Virginia Tech STAR football helmet rating system. Doing so may lead to inaccurate conclusions that one helmet brand or model has a measurably higher level of concussion protection than another for a particular athlete.

As stated in the STAR FAQ on the Virginia Tech website, the STAR rating system is 'a theoretical calculation that is based on a probabilistic analysis of impact exposure and injury risk.' This theoretical calculation relies on a single head acceleration criteria to predict the probability of a concussion, which is a complex event involving different and changing forces, linear and rotational accelerations, impact duration, player concussion history, overall health, helmet fit, and potentially even genetics.

Additionally, and perhaps of most importance, is that this ranking system, to the extent it may be predictive, is limited to only starting collegiate players wearing an adult large helmet. To quote again the Virginia Tech website "it is not safe to extrapolate the findings to youth football helmets. The STAR evaluation system was developed based on the head impact exposure of collegiate football players."

There is no indication from the STAR system or published methodology that a large size in one model will test the same as a medium or small or youth size in the same model, and to assume that the STAR value will apply across the board for all sizes of the same model is not safe, and potentially harmful.

NOCSAE urges parents and athletes to gather all the facts about football helmets and concussion protection from a variety of reliable sources. Athlete safety is too important to rely on only one partial measurement of helmet performance.


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/05/15/2117735/stay-and-play.html#storylink=cpy

The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) advocates ongoing research on athletic safety in order to gain a deeper understanding of protecting athletes from concussions. However, NOCSAE does not recommend that parents and athletes form decisions on the safest and most effective equipment based on any single individual data point, rating, or measurement, including the Virginia Tech STAR football helmet rating system. Doing so may lead to inaccurate conclusions that one helmet brand or model has a measurably higher level of concussion protection than another for a particular athlete.

"As stated in the STAR FAQ on the Virginia Tech website, the STAR rating system is 'a theoretical calculation that is based on a probabilistic analysis of impact exposure and injury risk.'  This theoretical calculation relies on a single head acceleration criteria to predict the probability of a concussion, which is a complex event involving different and changing forces, linear and rotational accelerations, impact duration, player concussion history, overall health, helmet fit, and potentially even genetics.  

"Additionally, and perhaps of most importance, is that this ranking system, to the extent it may be predictive, is limited to only starting collegiate players wearing an adult large helmet. To quote again the Virginia Tech website 'it is not safe to extrapolate the findings to youth football helmets. The STAR evaluation system was developed based on the head impact exposure of collegiate football players.'  

"There is no indication from the STAR system or published methodology that a large size in one model will test the same as a medium or small or youth size in the same model, and to assume that the STAR value will apply across the board for all sizes of the same model is not safe, and potentially harmful.

"NOCSAE urges parents and athletes to gather all the facts about football helmets and concussion protection from a variety of reliable sources. Athlete safety is too important to rely on only one partial measurement of helmet performance

Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1dloP)

COMMENTS: 2
NOCSAE vs. VA Tech
Posted from: Steve, ATC, 11/7/14 at 8:39 AM CST
I agree that no one test can determine the probability of concussions and that many factors should be taken in to consideration when purchasing a football helmet. My question to NOCSAE is what test do you use to decide on whether or not to give your blessing on a helmet and allow that manufacturer the approval to put your sticker on that helmet? NOCSAE is a body that determines that a piece of athletic equipment meets the "minimum" standards of safety for that sport. If I want to design the tinfoil helmet, and market and sell it, I can. NOCSAE probably won't put their sticker on it though. This sounds like a turf war and NOCSAE is fearing that governing bodies of sport might stop using NOCSAE as a requirement for the helmet and go with a minimum number of stars for a particular level of sport. To condemn the STAR system because they were using levels of forces and sizes of helmet more commonly seen in collegiate levels to test the helmets and saying this isn't equal across all levels shows a particularly low level of logic, deductive reasoning and common sense. Of course there are greater impacts in college compared to youth sports! If a helmet can dissipate the forces generated by a 285 pound collegiate lineman, wouldn't it stand to reason it could dissipate the forces generated by little Johnny who weighs 85 pounds? NO HELMET can prevent the brain from being bounced around the inside of the skull. However the less the head is moved upon impact or the longer the time it takes to decelerate the head when impacted, the less shearing forces inside the skull. This is physics. The SG helmet just received a 5 STAR rating and the physics on this helmet make sense. Lighter weight means less acceleration of a head which means more time to decelerate. Think of stopping your car in 100 feet going 100 mph or 40 mph. There is less movement of the driver against the seat belt when going slower. There are many other factors that are all being studied as we speak from neck strength to anticipation of collision and many others. For NOCSAE to bash a rating system when they don't have a reasonable alternative sounds like sour grapes to me. At least VA Tech is willing to evaluate the helmets apples to apples. I wonder what helmet the executives at NOCSAE put their kids in. I doubt they just go with helmets with a one STAR rating since they think they are all the same.
Helmet evaluation
Posted from: Murray A Parks, 11/6/14 at 11:10 AM CST
Are there other Football Helmet evaluations that can be used along with the VA Tech evaluation to assist in the selection of the best helmets for High School athletes? What criteria would you suggest be considered when selecting helmets for HS Football players? The STAR system did make some assumptions but I believe that the manufacturers of the helmets would produce the same model helmet to the same quality standard regardless of size.

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