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The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) has joined forces with sport entities and sporting goods manufacturers to launch the Youth Football Safety and Helmet Replacement Partnership, an initiative to replace 13,000 youth football helmets that are 10 years old or older and replace them with new helmets at no cost to the beneficiary leagues in “underserved communities.”
The program, spearheaded by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), also “aims to increase player safety by arming coaches with the latest educational information related to player safety, including concussion protection, assessment and management,” according to the participating parties
The Partnership’s pilot program will launch in four markets in July: the Bay Area, Gulf Coast region, Northern Ohio and New York’s tri-state area. NOCSAE, “an independent and nonprofit standard-setting body with the sole mission of enhancing athlete safety through scientific research and the creation of performance standards for protective equipment, will evaluate these helmets to understand better the performance over time of youth football helmets and to inform a potential youth football helmet standard.”
Mike Oliver, NOCSAE executive director, added that the program also “provides NOCSAE with a unique opportunity to leverage helmets collected from the field in our ongoing research efforts. This effort further supports our mission to drive the science of sports medicine so youth and adults who choose to play sports can know their equipment is certified to standards based on the best available information, and to inform potential standards for youth football helmets.”
NOCSAE is “a leading nongovernmental source for research funding in all sports medicine and science related to concussion in sports,” according to the participating parties. “Since 1995 NOCSAE has devoted more than $5 million toward concussion specific research by the foremost experts in sports medicine and science to develop and advance athlete safety.”
The NFL, NFL Players Association, National College Athletic Association and NOCSAE have reportedly committed a combined total of approximately $1 million to the program in its first year. The program was initiated by the CPSC with the hope that it can be expanded in subsequent years.