Jan 29, 2015First Standard for Soccer Headgear Released
Recent studies have shown that concussions can be a serious problem in soccer, occurring as frequently as in football. Now, for the first time, an official standard has been developed for protective headgear for the world’s most popular sport.
Issued in November 2005 by ASTM International, the standard offers a scientific consensus on the specifications headgear should meet in order to best protect soccer players from major impact during play. In particular, it establishes coverage, labeling, and laboratory-test performance protocols for manufacturers to follow. Soccer headgear that complies with the new standard will offer ideal protection during collisions with other players, goal posts, and the playing field. Impact from heading the ball is not addressed by the standard, since it rarely results in concussions.
Currently, the only soccer headgear on the market is called the Full90, a device made of molded foam that wraps around the head to protect impact zones of the forehead, temple areas, and the back of the head. “We’ve been waiting for this decision for a long time, and we’re proud to announce that our products meet every specification in the new standard,” Jeff Skeen, Founder and CEO of Full90 Sports, said in a press release. Skeen noted that a recent study, funded by world soccer governing body FIFA and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that the Full90 reduces impact forces that can lead to concussions in soccer players.
While the new standard and existing research suggest that the headgear helps prevent injuries, the soccer community has been slow to adopt the equipment. The West Virginia Youth Soccer Association, for instance, prohibits players from wearing it unless they have a doctor’s note. To encourage more widespread acceptance, Full90 Sports recently sent information packets to high school and youth soccer programs throughout the country, introducing the product and explaining its benefits.