When we look at football helmets, they have become the norm for any football player to be protected from a head injury. But it was not the same case in the past. The football helmet is one of the most important pieces of protective equipment in modern-day sports as it protects the player from any serious injury and some long-run disadvantages.
In a simple way helmet is a product made of a plastic shell on the outside while it has some protective foam and liners on the inside. To provide extra protection, the face mask or the padding on the neck and chin are used. There are various qualities and sizes of the helmet available for any player.
From the variety of football helmets, the user can choose what’s best for them. Football helmets have evolved well over time. Earlier, there were just ear flaps in the helmet, which later turned to be the overall face covering. Henceforth the history of the football helmet dates way back, and there is more to know about the product.
Also, Read: How To Clean A Football Helmet
The History Of The Football Helmet
The first case of using the helmet in football was seen in the year 1896 when a player named George Barclay went on to use straps and earpieces to cover his ear from any serious injury. Although this might be the first instance of the helmet’s use, little did anyone know who made it first.
There are a lot of examples of the inventor of the helmet in the first place. One of the instances says that James Naismith was the pioneer to that while records also say that Joseph M Reeves, who was a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman, was the first person to make the helmet for people’s use.
Sources claim that Joseph had a protective headpiece made out of moleskin in a game played in 1983. It was an Army-Navy game that rolled the eyeballs due to the use of the helmet. Whoever might be the inventor, but the shape, size, and quality of the helmet have come a long way from the 18th century to the 21st century.
Also, Read: Custom Motorcycle Helmets – Ultimate Guide
Early Helmet Years
When a shoe manufacturer helped a player wear a helmet for the first time, everyone thought something new had been found. Since that time things in the football field related to helmet has changed. The early years in the history of football helmets were more of a survival instinct rather than a good quality product.
The earliest of the 1900s saw the use of hardened leather to make the helmet. It was the same era when the helmets were made that were raised just over the head. This brought a revolution in the creation of the helmet, and the best was yet to follow. The evolution and revolution in the field of helmet creation were seen every year.
It was in the year 1939 where plastic helmets were made for the first time. Riddell was the pioneer company that made plastic helmets. Sources claimed that a plastic helmet would resist more of the collision and easily protect the rider’s overall head. Plastic helmets were more light and comfortable, which brought the interest of the riders too.
Looking at such rapid development in helmet making, 1940 brought a rule that everyone should wear a helmet in the NFL, which was huge news. The helmets made from leather were still used but with some advanced technologies implied in them. After using leather helmets for almost a decade, things changed.
Advanced materials like polymer were used in 1950. With the use of full-face helmets, the injuries in the game of football were fewer. There were fewer broken teeth and more safety in the game that made things look better. Riddell has always been the pioneer in helmet creation.
It is a well-known fact that Riddell has brought new designs in the helmet industry to make it safe for the players. With the use of Riddell helmets, there have been fewer concussions in the field of play. There have been many quality helmets from Riddell, but the best one will always be the Speed Flex as it brought revolution.
With the changes in the quality and the material of the product, helmets have come a long way. In the most recent development in helmet production, Vics has come with a brilliant product. Vics helmet has a soft outer layer that tends to absorb more shocks that can be induced during the tackle.
Also, Read: Helmet Law in California
Components of modern football helmets
When the first helmet came to everyone’s eye, it was made by the use of leather. It was a revolution in itself, and since then, helmet manufacturing has gone to another level. In the modern-day helmet, the components used in it are of great value. They protect the head of the player.
In modern helmet production, some basic components are necessary to be included. These components play a vital role in the game’s effective operation and security measures. When the use of helmets has come centuries, it is a compulsion that every player wears a helmet. Some of the major components in the modern-day helmet are:
The outer shell
The outer shell of the helmet has been changing over time. There was a point when soft leather exteriors made the exteriors of the helmet. Those exteriors didn’t absorb much of the pressure. But later, with the use of polycarbonate, things have been pretty good. The first instance of polycarbonate used in the helmet was seen in 1986.
In the 21st-century current football helmets, polycarbonate in the outer shell must be up to 3.55mm, which makes the helmet worth wearing. This also allows for the helmet to be more lightweight. Polycarbonate is better used for the helmet to look more stylish, spread out the tackle’s impact, and make it more durable.
Shock Absorbing Materials
The shock-absorbing materials generally mean the interiors that are used when making the helmets. In the case of good modern-day helmets, the interiors are used mostly a good level of padding. The better padding allows to absorb the shock and also makes the player feel more safe and secured.
The interior of the helmets is made with the help of nitrile foams that aid in the protection of the head of the player from multiple collisions. The main use of nitrile foam is for the absorption of the shock and to protect the actual head of the player. For a very long time, the interiors of the helmet are given proper care by the manufacturers.
Even though the use of foams in the interior has been a highly used trend, some things tend to be underlooked. With the continuous use of the same helmet, the foam inside of the helmet tends to break out. In that case, the interior foam or the helmet must be changed. This will keep the players safe for a long time.
This is an important segment in the case of modern-day helmets. With the evolution of the game, modern-day helmets have started to use various apparel in their helmets. The protective visors are one of the important inventions in the case of modern-day helmets. It is a modern-day invention that is also called the eye shield to protect from eye injuries.
Visors are helpful for the players as it keeps their eyes in good condition. A good visor will also allow for the game to run smoothly, even if the weather is too windy or tough to play. Mark Mullaney is known to be the first user of the visor in the helmet for the NFL games, which was a huge change at that time.
In modern times, almost every manufacturer loves to give a visor to their helmet. With the top manufacturer being Nike, Riddell, SHOC, and others, things have changed for the good. There are various types of visors too. Some use clear visors, while others go for the tinted ones. A player can use the tinted visors on special occasions only.
Talking about the extra attributes in the helmet, sensors are the best thing used in the helmet. A decade back, thinking about using sensors in the helmet would be a big dream, but times have changed. The use of sensors in the helmet allows the manufacturers and coaches to know their impact during the game.
An interesting fact with the use of sensors has come through. It states that a player gets up to 2000 concussion blows in a season of NFL. This allows doctors and manufacturers to make helmets that eradicate the concussion.
Without a doubt, the modern-day helmet and its manufacturing have come a long way. But one has to understand more of the changes that are yet to be made in helmet manufacturing, and it will be important just to evolve.