The NFL and NFLPA have concluded a study looking into the safety of helmets. The study found that all 16 of the commercial helmet styles manufactured by Riddell, Schutt, Protective Sports Equipment and Adams “met the current National Operating Committee on Standard for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) certification to protect players against severe traumatic skill and brain injuries,” according to league documents.
More helmet safety tests are expected in the future. The more immediate equipment issue is players wearing the proper padding – something that happens with less and less regularity these days. The NFL needs to do a better job of enforcing equipment rules. Alex Marvez of FOX Sports wrote an excellent piece that puts this in perspective.
Only 50 percent of players wear every major piece of protective padding at their disposal, according to statistics given the league by the NFL Players Association.
Even though it may lower concussion risk, one quarterback (Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck) and two centers (Kansas City’s Casey Wiegmann and Washington’s Casey Rabach) surveyed by FOXSports.com said they don’t use mouth guards largely because of verbal communication concerns and discomfort. Wide receivers and defensive backs are known for eschewing any protection between their knees and torso. Some remove the actual padding and use only the thin plastic shells.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith agree that changes need to be made. Any new rules regarding equipment could easily be enforced by referees. Players are already required to buckle their chinstraps. If they repeatedly fail to do this, the referees can bar them from the field. Broadening the scope of this rule to include additional equipment would be simple.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .