Proper Helmet Fitting

March 9, 2019

Proper care of helmets, is imperative to the safety and success of the athlete, and the proper fitting of helmets is a large part of ensuring the safety of the athletes who wear them.

Preston “Stick” Rogers, E.M.,C, Director of Football Equipment Operations at Mississippi State University, offers advice for properly fitting your athletes with helmets. Rogers provided these tips in an article for AEMA Journal, a publication produced by the Athletic Equipment Managers Association. The purpose of the Athletic Equipment Managers Association (AEMA) is to promote, advance, and improve the Equipment Managers Profession, and to work as a group to bring about equipment improvements for the greater safety of all participants in sports and recreation.

Before beginning to fit the helmets, Rogers says to read the manufacturer’s informational brochure that comes with each helmet. Along with reading information from the manufacturer, take note of the warning stickers on helmets because they raise an important point to also remember: “No helmet system can protect you from serious brain and/or neck injuries including paralysis or death. To avoid these risks, do not engage in the sport of football.”

The following are tips for the proper fitting of helmets:

• Measure the size of the athlete’s head and use that information to choose the appropriate helmet size.

• Use a soft tape measure to find out the size of the athlete’s head, or the manufacturer provided measuring tape and caliper.

• Ask the athlete about the helmet they wore in high school or junior college, and see if they want to stay in that same helmet. If available and meets NOCSAE standards, it is perfectly acceptable for that athlete to stay with that same helmet type. However, double check the fit of that helmet style and go from there.

• Also ask if they have had any history of concussions in that helmet.

Rogers write that the coverage is key to the helmet’s fit. It should not sit too high or too low on the athlete’s head. You should check to make sure that the earholes line up with the player’s ears. Also, make sure you can see their eyes and they have a clear field of vision. Center the chin strap on the athlete and adjust from there. There are many ways to fit a football helmet.

Mike Weatherby, founder of HelmetFit, agrees that “a properly fit helmet is one of the most proactive and overlooked safety measures a program can take.”

HelmetFit is a helmet maintenance system that establishes and maintains a custom, proper fit for each player by measuring the air pressure in the helmet. More than 100 football programs are using HelmetFit —from the NFL to college and high school football to youth football.

HelmetFit's patented helmet maintenance system allows users to measure the air pressure at each inflation point to locate and automatically maintain the proper fit setting for each player--without the player having to be present. It also keeps fit history log for every time a helmet was fit for a team, protecting the player and the organization.

“HelmetFit was outstanding,” said Dave Miller, head football coach at James Buchanan High School in Mercersburg, PA. This is an extremely effective product. We are able to keep helmets properly fitted, and find bladders that were no longer holding air. This kept our kids safe during the entire season.”

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