As in any sport, safety is paramount, but more so in football. Football helmets are an essential tool in providing player protection during practice and games. The rigors helmets face during the season make reconditioning and recertification important in the offseason. Riddell, the industry leader football helmet technology, recommends helmets —owned by a team or individual – should be reconditioned and recertified annually, and minimally, based on manufacturers guidelines and standards.
"Throughout the course of a season, helmets go through a lot – practices, games, travel to and from the field. To ensure helmets maintain proper protection, they should be tested and inspected following each season," 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 surfaces are sanded smooth. 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 cracks and other potential issues.
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 recertified – ready for next season.
"Reconditioning costs are determined based on an individual helmet assessment by Riddell staff to determine need for replacement parts, painting, cleaning, and recertifying," 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 teams and programs on drop-off and pickups. Individuals can call Riddell 1-888-681-1717," Borland said. " In cases where pickup is challenging, equipment can also be sent directly to their designated reconditioning location."
For more information on helmet reconditioning, visit Riddell’s website.