With hockey and ringette season underway and ski/snowboard season beginning soon, it is a good idea to take a moment to review some simple, yet important facts regarding helmet safety.
The helmet is inarguably the most important piece of protective equipment that an athlete will wear. A properly fitted helmet will help ensure that an athlete can continue to enjoy a sport or an activity and minimize head injury. Helmets cannot prevent all injuries, but they will help decrease the impact of a head injury. Helmets are sport-specific. This means that there are different helmets for different sports that protect the head in different ways. It is important to wear the appropriate helmet for the sport that the athlete is participating in.
Helmets can deteriorate over time, and the material that provides protection for the head can breakdown. It is important to check the helmet prior to each use for any of the following:
- damage to the outer shell, such as cracks, chips or missing pieces.
- damage to the inside foam layer, such as missing pieces, or pulling away from the outer shell.
- attachments to the helmet such as shields, masks, cages are not loose and that the fitting hardware is not loose, rusting or missing.
Always remember to refer to the fitting instructions provided by the helmet manufacturer to ensure that you have a correct fit in order to obtain the maximum protection for your head.