NOCSAE: Football Helmet Controversy Not Our Fault

With much of the NFL pre-season discussion centering on who is wearing what certified or non-certified helmet – and with a lot of bad publicity swirling around it – the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) felt compelled last month to go public to detail the sometimes confusing rules related to football helmets.

In a nutshell, NOCSAE sets test and performance standards for football helmets and the NFL requires that football helmets worn by players in the league meet NOCSAE standards.

The rule that prevents recertification for helmets after 10 years – and that is forcing stars like Tom Brady and Antonio Brown from continuing to wear their old., non-certified helmets -- is set by a separate organization called NAERA, the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association. NOCSAE does not participate in the management or administration of NAERA and does not direct or control NAERA policies.

NOCSAE does not have a rule that prevents players in the NFL or any league from wearing specific football helmets or football helmets that are more than 10 years old. There is also no NOCSAE rule that prevents football helmets 10 years old or older from being recertified to NOCSAE standards.

NOCSAE has established the most rigorous standards for football helmets in the world and NOCSAE’s first priority is the safety and protection of athletes. NOCSAE is an independent and nonprofit standards development body with the sole mission of enhancing athletic safety through scientific research and the creation of performance standards for athletic equipment.

Learn more at www.nocsae.org.

NOCSAE also provided a list of FAQs to help clear up any confusion on its role in the controversy.

Does the NFL require that players wear helmets certified to NOCSAE standards?
Yes, the NFL requires players to wear helmets that meet test and performance standards set by NOCSAE. NOCSAE does not certify or approve athletic equipment. Football helmets are certified to NOCSAE standards by Safety Equipment Institute (SEI). Third-party certification enhances the integrity of all NOCSAE standards, giving athletes confidence that their athletic equipment has been tested by a neutral, independent body to meet the highest performance standards.

Does NOCSAE certify athletic equipment?
NOCSAE sets test and performance standards for athletic equipment, including football helmets. NOCSAE does not certify or approve athletic equipment. Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) oversees the certification of athletic equipment to NOCSAE standards. Third-party certification enhances the integrity of all NOCSAE standards, giving athletes confidence that their athletic equipment has been tested by a neutral, independent body to meet the highest performance standards.

Does NOCSAE have a rule that prevents helmets that are 10 years old or older from being worn or recertified to NOCSAE standards?
No. NOCSAE does not have a rule that prevents players in the NFL or any league from wearing football helmets that are more than 10 years old. There is also no NOCSAE rule that prevents football helmets 10 years old or older from being recertified to NOCSAE standards. The rule that prevents recertification for helmets after 10 years is set by NAERA, the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association. NOCSAE does not participate in the management or administration of NAERA and does not direct or control NAERA policies.