On the gridiron, safety is paramount, and football helmets need proper reconditioning for optimal performance. While teams must recondition their helmets every other year, industry leader Riddell recommends annual service.
"Throughout the course of a season, helmets endure the rigors of football – practice, games, heat, sweat, scratches, lockers and damage to decals. To ensure proper safety, it’s important that helmets are inspected and tested in multiple ways, multiple times, including air liner tests and meticulous shell inspections," Riddell Vice President of Sales Kyle Borland said.
"Annual maintenance prolongs the effective life of the equipment, advances player protection, stabilizes budgets and can reduce athletic program costs in the long run. Annual reconditioning ensures that every athlete is issued clean, sanitized, inspected, repaired and recertified equipment."
So how are helmets reconditioned? Here's a look at Riddell's process:
After helmets are received, interior parts are tested and face masks removed.
Next, decals are removed and paint sanded off. Interior parts are checked and tested, then helmets are cleaned and sanitized by hot pressurized water and detergent, rinsed and dried.
Helmets are then hand-inspected for hairline cracks and other defects.
For painted helmets, new paint is applied. Paint color changes can also be made at this time.
Lastly, warnings, other labels and the recertification seal are applied; face masks and hardware are reattached; and helmets are returned reconditioned and re-certified - ready for next season!
Fees vary, based on the condition of each helmet.
"Reconditioning costs are determined based on individual helmet assessment by Riddell staff to determine need for replacement parts, painting, cleaning, and re-certifying," Borland said. "Typically for individuals reconditioning their helmets, they’re anywhere from $60 to $100. Whole team reconditioning can differ, but average cost per helmet is around $40 to $50 and can be less for entry-level youth helmets."
Whether in person or via mail, Riddell strives to make the process easy for teams and leagues.
"Riddell representatives will work directly with customers on drop-off and pickups," Borland said. "However, some customers, based on location, make it difficult for direct pickups. In those cases, equipment can also be sent directly to their designated reconditioning location."
For more information on helmet reconditioning, visit Riddell’s website.