Football Helmets: Exploring Benefits, Types, and Leading Brands

John Rizzo

Helmets in College Football

Football is a sport characterized by its intensity, camaraderie, and exhilarating gameplay. However, the physical nature of the game also brings with it the potential for injuries, particularly to the head. 

This is where football helmets come into play as a vital piece of equipment that not only enhances player safety but also contributes to the overall performance and enjoyment of the game. 

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of football helmets, exploring their benefits, and various types, and highlighting some of the leading brands that have taken player protection to new heights.

Helmets in College Football

In college football, a helmet is a protective headgear worn by players to reduce the risk of head injuries during the game.

Helmets are an essential piece of equipment in football and are designed to provide impact absorption and distribute the force of collisions, thereby helping to prevent concussions and other head-related injuries.

College football helmets are typically made from a hard plastic shell on the outside and contain cushioning materials on the inside, such as foam padding and air bladders, to help absorb and disperse the impact forces. 

The design and technology of football helmets have evolved over the years to improve player safety and reduce the likelihood of head injuries. Modern football helmets often feature advanced features, such as facemasks, chin straps, and ventilation systems. 

These helmets are also tested and certified to meet safety standards set by organizations like NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) to ensure they provide adequate protection for players.

Types of Football Helmets

Types of Football Helmets

There are several types of football helmets designed to provide varying levels of protection and accommodate different player positions and preferences. Here are some of the common types of football helmets:

Traditional Helmets

These are classic football helmets with a hard shell and foam padding on the inside. They offer a standard level of protection and are commonly used by players in various positions.

Full-Cage Helmets

These helmets have a full face mask or cage that extends across the entire face, offering additional protection for the eyes and face. They are often preferred by linemen and other players in positions where there is a higher risk of facial injuries.

Open-Cage Helmets

These helmets have an open-face mask or cage that provides good visibility while still offering some protection to the face. They are commonly used by skill position players like quarterbacks, wide receivers, and defensive backs.

Riddell SpeedFlex

This helmet design incorporates flex panels on the shell’s surface, allowing it to absorb and disperse impact forces more effectively. It’s known for its advanced technology and has gained popularity for its potential to reduce the risk of head injuries.

Schutt Air XP

This helmet features a unique design with a large number of ventilation holes, offering improved air circulation and comfort for players. It is also designed to provide enhanced impact absorption.


This helmet is designed with a focus on minimizing impact forces through a unique multilayered construction that helps absorb and disperse energy. It’s gained attention for its innovative approach to reducing head injuries.

Xenith EPIC

Xenith helmets feature a shock absorber technology called the “Adaptive Head Protection” system that aims to reduce the rotational forces associated with impacts. The helmet’s design allows for a custom fit.

Schutt F7

This helmet features a TPU cushioning system that is designed to provide better impact absorption and a comfortable fit. It’s known for its unique shell design that incorporates flex points for improved movement.

These are just a few examples of the types of football helmets available. Each type of helmet may offer specific features and benefits, and players often choose helmets based on their position, playing style, and personal comfort. 

It’s important for players to select a helmet that fits properly and meets safety standards to ensure adequate protection on the field.

Why Should You Use Football Helmets?

Why Should You Use Football Helmets

Football helmets are used primarily to protect players from head injuries, especially concussions, and to reduce the risk of severe head trauma. Here are the key reasons why football helmets are essential in the sport:

Head Injury Prevention

Football involves high-impact collisions and tackles that can result in significant forces being applied to players’ heads. Helmets are designed to absorb and disperse these forces, reducing the likelihood of concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Concussion Mitigation

Concussions are a major concern in contact sports like football. Helmets help mitigate the risk of concussions by providing a layer of cushioning and protection that absorbs and dissipates impact forces, reducing the likelihood of the brain hitting the skull.

Skull Fracture Prevention

Football helmets provide a hard outer shell that helps protect the skull from direct impacts, reducing the risk of skull fractures and other severe head injuries.

Face and Eye Protection

Helmets with face masks or cages offer protection for the face and eyes, preventing injuries to the nose, mouth, and eyes during play.

Player Safety

The use of helmets is a crucial element of player safety in football. While injuries are a part of any contact sport, helmets play a vital role in minimizing the severity of head injuries and ensuring that players can participate with a reduced risk of life-altering injuries.

Compliance with Safety Standards

Football helmets are designed and tested to meet specific safety standards set by organizations like NOCSAE. Compliance with these standards ensures that helmets provide a minimum level of protection and performance.

Confidence and Performance

Wearing a well-fitted and properly designed helmet can boost players’ confidence on the field, allowing them to focus on their performance without constant worry about potential head injuries.

Preventing Long-Term Effects

Repeated head trauma, even if not immediately causing a concussion, can lead to long-term cognitive and neurological issues. Helmets help reduce the impact forces that contribute to these long-term effects.

Injury Awareness

While helmets don’t prevent all head injuries, they can serve as a reminder to players and coaches about the importance of safe and proper tackling techniques and adherence to rules that promote player safety.

It’s important to note that while helmets are a critical piece of protective equipment, they do not eliminate the risk of head injuries entirely. Proper coaching, technique, and rule enforcement also play significant roles in minimizing injuries in football. 

Additionally, ongoing research and technological advancements continue to improve helmet design and effectiveness in reducing head injuries.

Popular Brands of Football Helmets

Popular Brands of Football Helmets

Several popular brands manufacture football helmets that are widely used by players at all levels of the sport. Here are some of the well-known brands that produce football helmets:


Riddell is one of the most recognized and established brands in the football helmet industry. They offer a range of helmet models, including the SpeedFlex, Speed, and Victor lines. Riddell helmets are used by many college and professional football players.


Schutt is another prominent brand known for its football helmets. Their models include the Air XP, F7, and Vengeance lines. Schutt helmets are used by a variety of players, and their F7 helmet is particularly known for its TPU cushioning system.


Xenith is known for its innovative helmet technology that focuses on reducing rotational forces and enhancing impact absorption. The Xenith EPIC helmet, featuring the Adaptive Head Protection system, is popular among players seeking advanced protection.


VICIS gained attention for its unique ZERO1 helmet, designed to reduce impact forces and mitigate head injuries. The helmet uses a multilayered construction to enhance safety and has been adopted by some professional and college teams.


Rawlings offers football helmets designed to provide both protection and comfort. Their Quantum and Impulse lines are among the models commonly used by players.

Under Armour

Under Armour produces a range of football equipment, including helmets. Their UA Gameday Armour Pro and F6 helmets are used by players at various levels.


Adidas also manufactures football helmets, often used by players in college and high school football programs.


Wilson produces football helmets designed for safety and performance. Their models are used by players of all skill levels.

SG Helmets

SG Helmets is a newer brand known for its focus on safety and advanced helmet technology. Their Zero1 model incorporates features to enhance protection and player comfort.

It’s important to note that helmet technology and designs can change over time as manufacturers incorporate new research and innovations to enhance player safety. 

When choosing a football helmet, players and teams often consider factors such as fit, comfort, safety features, and the level of play for which the helmet is intended. Additionally, helmets must meet safety standards set by organizations like NOCSAE to ensure they provide adequate protection.

Things to Look for in the Right Football Helmets

Things to Look for in the Right Football Helmets

Choosing the right football helmet is crucial for player safety and comfort. When looking for the right football helmet, consider the following factors:


A properly fitting helmet is essential. It should snugly cover the player’s head without being too tight or too loose. Look for a helmet size that matches the player’s head circumference and ensures a secure fit.

Position-Specific Helmets

Different positions may have different helmet preferences. Linemen might prefer helmets with full cages for added face protection, while skill position players might opt for helmets with open cages for better visibility.

Safety Certification

Ensure that the helmet is certified by organizations like NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) or other relevant safety standards. Certification ensures that the helmet meets safety requirements for impact protection.

Helmet Technology

Consider helmets with advanced technologies designed to reduce impact forces and prevent concussions. Look for features like shock absorbers, multiple layers, or innovative cushioning systems.


Lighter helmets can reduce strain on the neck and improve overall comfort during play. However, the helmet should not compromise protection for reduced weight.


Proper ventilation helps keep the player cool during games and practices. Look for helmets with well-designed ventilation systems to prevent overheating.

Chin Strap

The chin strap should securely hold the helmet in place without causing discomfort. Adjustable and padded chin straps can enhance comfort and safety.


Interior padding provides cushioning and impact absorption. Make sure the helmet’s padding is sufficient and comfortable, especially in key impact areas like the crown of the head.


Helmets with adjustable features, such as air bladders or removable padding, allow players to customize the fit for their comfort.

Visor Compatibility

If a player prefers to wear a visor for eye protection, ensure the helmet is designed to accommodate one.


Football helmets come in a range of prices. While it’s important not to compromise on safety, consider finding a helmet that offers the desired features within your budget.

Brand Reputation

Choose helmets from reputable and established brands known for producing high-quality and safe equipment.

Reviews and Recommendations

Read reviews and seek recommendations from coaches, players, and experts to get insights into the performance and comfort of different helmet models.

Proper Maintenance

Remember that helmets need proper maintenance, including regular cleaning and inspection to ensure they continue to provide optimal protection.

Try Before You Buy

Whenever possible, have the player try on the helmet before purchasing it to ensure a proper fit and comfort.

Remember that player safety should always be the top priority when choosing a football helmet. Investing in a high-quality helmet that fits well and meets safety standards can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries and contribute to an enjoyable and safe playing experience.


Why are football helmets important?

Football helmets are crucial for player safety, as they help prevent head injuries, including concussions and skull fractures, by absorbing and distributing impact forces during the game.

What are the different types of football helmets?

Football helmets come in various types, including traditional helmets, full-cage helmets for added facial protection, and open-cage helmets for improved visibility. Brands like Riddell, Schutt, Xenith, and VICIS offer different models with unique technologies.

How do football helmets benefit players?

Football helmets provide a shield against head injuries, offering concussion mitigation, skull fracture prevention, and protection for the face and eyes. They boost player confidence, support safe gameplay, and aid in preventing long-term neurological issues caused by repeated head trauma.

What features should I look for in a football helmet?

When choosing a football helmet, consider factors such as proper fit, safety certification, helmet technology, weight, ventilation, chin strap quality, padding, adjustability, visor compatibility, budget, brand reputation, and recommendations from experts and players.

\Which are some popular football helmet brands?

Well-known football helmet brands include Riddell, Schutt, Xenith, VICIS, Rawlings, Under Armour, Adidas, Wilson, and SG Helmets. Each brand offers a range of models designed to cater to different player needs and preferences.

Wrapping Up 

Football helmets are not just pieces of gear; they are essential safeguards that contribute to the physical well-being and longevity of players in this dynamic sport. 

With advancements in technology and a commitment to player safety, football helmet brands continue to innovate, ensuring that players can step onto the field with confidence and focus on the game they love. 

As you navigate the world of football helmets, armed with knowledge about their benefits, diverse types, and reputable brands, you’re empowered to make informed choices that prioritize safety while embracing the thrill of the game. 

Best wishes.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn