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IMPACT! Helmet testing for all sports: Which helmet should you buy?

The Virginia Tech helmet testing labs change the simulation for each kind of sport.

The hits just keep coming, and that’s by design. At the Virginia Tech Helmet testing labs, teams simulate impacts for all kinds of sports.

“We put the helmets on a dummy head and we impact him in different directions, different speeds inside the dummy head. We're measuring accelerations, so we measure linear and rotational acceleration. We multiply that by your risk of concussion and multiply that by the incidence and aggregate all that data together for one value,” said Stefan Duma, VT Professor.

When you pull up the Virginia Tech Helmet rating website, you can see the various sports they test for including Football, flag football, cycling, and soccer. white water rafting, hockey, rugby, and snow sports.

For each category, the site explains how they test the helmets and why and they show you the process, which is not the same for each item.

The most recent testing has been done on White Water helmets. Impacts to the head kill around 50 white water rafters per year. 

"We tested all 24 helmets that are currently on the market. And about half of them are pretty good and about half are not very good at all," said Duma. 

Along with the video, the site gives you all the test results including the name brand, the cost, and the safety score.

“What we found is the price is not correlated to performance. Some of the cheapest helmets perform really well. Some of the most expensive helmets don't perform well at all,” said Duma.

Virginia Tech has been testing and rating helmets since 2011.
Before you buy your next helmet, it's worth checking out their findings.


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