December 7th, 2017
When the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab released its first set of ratings for hockey helmets in 2015, the top of the chart was empty. No helmet had earned the highest score of five stars.
That vacancy has just been filled, and the first-ever five-star rating awarded to the CCM FitLite 500.
Before a hockey helmet can be sold, it must pass an impact-protection standard established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But not all helmets on the market are equally effective at shielding a player’s brain from injury, and the standard, which is pass-fail, doesn’t allow consumers to compare the protection offered by different models.
The Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings provide more detail, using star ratings between zero and five to indicate how well a given helmet reduces head acceleration during an impact, a measurement correlated with a lower risk of head injuries.
“We supplement the standard by providing additional data so consumers can see the relative differences between helmets,” said Steve Rowson, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering and director of the Helmet Lab.