Skate Helmets v Hockey Helmets
- by Sam Marron-Bonathan
The standard skate helmets that we stocked up to now have been fantastic. We have also stocked Hockey Helmets primarily for our www.hockeyrange.com customers. But so far in the Roller Derby World hockey helmets have had a small impact for what people go for. Below is an interesting article from the Windy City Rollers’ Training Chairs.
Helmet Types and Safety Information
a report from the Windy City Rollers’ Training Chairs
There are three types of helmets on the heads of WCR skaters at this time: soft-foam helmets, hard-foam helmets, and hockey helmets. Each of these helmets protects the head using a different technology, and offer varying degrees and types of protection. It is the opinion of WCR Training that all skaters should wear hockey helmets. Skaters can find adequate single-impact protection from a CPSC certified helmet, but this helmet should be replaced several times annually following any significant impact. WCR Training does not recommend the use of 2-stage foam lined helmets for any skaters. Additionally, all helmets should be visually inspected prior to each wear, and should be free of visible cracks, have properly adjusted straps, and firmly affixed foam. It should be noted that there is no helmet - not a single one - which can prevent a concussion.
What is a significant impact? S-One, Pro-Tec, and Triple 8 were all asked this question, and none were able to provide a solid metric, except for S-One, who defined it in the infographics below. There is no single definition across the manufacturers as to what a significant impact is, so it is best to be safe rather than sorry. Assume that if you have hit your head, you have had a significant impact. If you recall throwing your helmet across the room, that probably also counts. The bottom line is that unless you have a hockey helmet, your helmet is not built or tested for multiple impacts.
Helmet Sizing is also a key factor in the level of protection offered by a helmet. A helmet with an improper fit is less likely to stay in position and therefor can not always offer adequate protection. When in doubt as to the fit of your helmet or when purchasing a new helmet model, it is best to get fitted at your local retailer. They are educated in proper fit and sizing, and can help you find the right helmet.
Types of Helmets
Hockey Helmets have a hard plastic shell and an EPP liner affixed with glue. Examples of hockey helmets are Bauer 4500, 5100, etc; Cascade M11; and Easton S-series.
Hockey helmets pass HECC standards and are not tested by the CPSC. The protective liner, EPP, is expanded poly-propylene and this type of foam is more responsive and bounces back to it’s original condition. Hockey helmets are designed, and tested for, multiple impacts over time. These helmets are tested by dropping them (with a head-form inside) 3 different times in the same location, and repeating this test in several locations. They should be replaced when they are showing signs of wear (cracked shell, padding becoming unglued) or upon their expiration date (6.5 years after testing). Hockey helmets are held to the ASTM F1045 rating (a more rigorous standard than F1492), and the testing is described in more detail at this site: http://www.hecc.net/prodtest.html
Soft-foam Helmets have a hard plastic shell and a flexible and soft foam insert (most likely replaceable, and affixed with velcro or glue). Examples are Pro-tec’s Classic Skate (any model with the word “Skate” in it); Triple 8’s Brainsaver (Standard/Sweatsaver Liner); and S-One’s Premium (non-certified) helmet.
Soft-foam helmets do not pass CPSC or HECC standards, and S-One states that no soft-foam helmet they tested met the requirements of ASTM F1492. Soft-foam helmets can not adequately protect your head from falls higher than 3.5 ft. The foam protective liner in the helmet is generally made of EVA foam, aka foam rubber. Over time and with each impact, this foam compresses and provides you with less and less protection every time you wear it. Soft-foam helmets that actually do meet the requirements of ASTM F1492 are able to withstand more than one moderate impact, but protection is provided for only a limited number of impacts. After a single significant impact, a soft-foam helmet should be replaced.
Hard-foam Helmets have a hard plastic shell, an EPS liner affixed to the hard plastic shell, and an additional/optional (and often replaceable) soft foam liner for comfort and sizing. Examples are Pro-tec’s Ace and B2 (NOT Ace Skate and B2 Skate) - these two models are the only two that Pro-tec rates as multiple impact; Triple 8 Brainsaver CPSC; and S-One’s Big Head, Destro, and Kid helmets.
Hard-foam helmets listed above pass CPSC standards and are not tested by HECC. Hard-foam helmets protect your head for a single impact by dispersing the energy of a crash. After a single significant impact, a hard foam helmet can no longer protect your head adequately and should be replaced. EPS is expanded polystyrene and does not bounce back to it’s original shape after an impact. After a single significant impact, a hard-foam helmet should be replaced.
CPSC standards are the standards to which bicycle helmets are held, and you can read the entire standard here: http://www.bhsi.org/cpscstd.htm Pro-tec’s Ace and B2 sport a liner with SXP (surface activated expanded poly-propylene) which Pro-tec says is a patented poly-propylene material that is designed to bounce back to it’s original condition.
We have updated our helmet section that now include hockey helmets. After reading this what will you go for next?! Will you be converted to a hockey helmet?!
Team Skate Station