NFL 'official' helmet policy questioned

Sept. 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A member of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee says the league should drop Riddell Sports Inc., based in Des Plaines, Ill., as its official helmet maker.

The league allows players to wear any helmets approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, but only Riddell helmets are allowed to have their logos visible on the field. Kevin Guskiewicz -- chairman of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina, and a member of the league's head, neck and spine committee -- said the policy could mislead players into thinking they don't have a choice, and could prejudice parents seeking to purchase helmets for their children, The New York Times reported Friday.

"I think we need to get away from 'the' helmet of the NFL," Guskiewicz said. "The fact that only one helmet can be advertised, the perception is there that they don't have a choice. I think we need to educate them about that choice."

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, said the league could do more to educate players about the safety of different helmet models.

"Frankly, the league has been far more aggressive about thigh and hip pads than they have about ensuring that every player has access and information regarding helmets," Smith said.

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