NBC12 Investigates: VT Football Helmet Rating System

An update to our NBC12 investigation into football helmets used by our local high schools. The researchers involved in a ground breaking study at Virginia Tech have released new findings parents will want to know about.

The hits keep coming in football, but how hard are they? And are these kids really protected?

A researcher at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg made it his mission to test every helmet that was publicly available. He wanted to learn which helmets are working and which are not!

We traveled to Blacksburg to visit Stefan Duma in his high tech lab.

He bought every helmet on the market at random so manufacturers couldn't doctor them, and for over a year, he strapped them to the head of a dummy and dropped them from different heights, creating the country's first every football helmet rating system.

"The helmet is kind of the third layer of protection. You've got to coach well, you've got to enforce the rules and then there's the helmet," said Duma.

And this year there are three five star rated helmets. The Riddell Revolution Speed makes the list again, but is also joined by the Riddell 360 and the Rawlings Quantum Plus.

This year 7 other helmets got four stars which also means they are recommended for use.

"We're seeing a shift in better products, better protection so if you look at the number of 4 and 5 star helmets as manufacturers make better helmets that overall is going to reduce the number of concussions," said Duma.

The best rated helmets are not always the most expensive either. They range from anywhere between $159 to $374 dollars.

You can view all the ratings for the helmets here.

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