Hard-hitting research: Virginia Tech research has revolutionized the sports helmet industry

It kicked off with little more than two self-described sports nuts who had an idea, $50,000 in good-faith cash, and a cooperative future hall-of-fame college football coach.





Outside Online: We Designed the World's Safest Helmet

Helmet ratings referenced in a piece on a theoretical, highly effective, best-case-scenario helmet for bicyclists.



USA Today Study: High-impact drills cause more concussions at youth football level

Eliminating particular high-impact drills in youth football practices significantly reduces the risk of head injuries, according to a study published in theJournal of Neurosurgery on Tuesday.



WSLS 10: Virginia Tech helmet lab tackles bicycle and soccer helmet research

Virginia Tech researchers are working to protect more young athletes from head injuries. The internationally recognized helmet lab on campus is expanding its work on football and hockey helmet safety ratings to bicycle and soccer head gear.



Sports Day HS: Xenith recalls helmets once tested to be some of safest on market; Various area schools might be affected

Xenith and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a voluntary recall on Thursday for Xenith's EPIC Varsity, X2 Varsity, and X2E Varsity and Youth helmets with gloss or metallic-painted polycarbonate shells that were sold or reconditioned at a Xenith factory reconditioner from May 1, 2015 to March 18. Those painted or reconditioned by a company other than Xenith were not included. 



Virginia Tech News: Virginia Tech helmet lab expanding to test bicycle helmets and soccer headgear

Virginia Tech’s Helmet Ratings research lab, which has won international recognition for evidence-based ratings of football and hockey helmets, is adding bicycle helmets and soccer headgear to its testing program.



WVTF News: Concussion Discussion: Measuring Sports’ Impacts

This past spring, the NFL acknowledged for the first time, that there’s a connection between players’ head injuries and chronic brain disease.  Researchers at Virginia Tech began the largest and longest study of football related head injury impact on the youngest players. 



Virginia Tech News: Bauer releases new helmet, best performance, according to Virginia Tech’s Hockey Helmet Ratings

A new hockey helmet is the highest rated hockey headgear according to the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings.



WBEN 930 AM: Helmet Safety / Concussion Discussion: Dr. Stefan Duma of Virginia Tech (audio)

WBEN LiveLine talks with Dr. Duma on a variety of helmet research topics.



The Atlantic: The Limits of Football Helmets

No amount of head protection can fully protect players from concussions.



The Verge: How football helmets fail to protect against some of the most dangerous hits in the game

Stefan Duma agrees that there are some protective benefits to this padding, but he cautions that there isn't enough research to conclusively say that the cushions lower concussion risk.



ESPN: NFL donations to brain research benefit league-linked doctors, raise worries about influence on science

The ongoing role of the NFL in concussion research and education.



News Channel 3: A Dangerous Game: Kids and Concussions

Dr. Stefan Duma, head of Virginia Tech's Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics is currently working on a 5 year, $3.3 million study focusing on kids playing football.



CSN MidAtlantic: How Virginia Tech is helping in the fight against concussions

Virginia Tech is helping in the fight against concussions. Julie Donaldson takes you inside the labs where progress is being made here.




ABC 8 News: How safe is your kid’s hockey helmet?

Kerri O'Brien interviews Stefan Duma on the outlook for youth hockey.



CBS News: High School Student Deaths Raise Helmet Concerns

Video piece on the concussions in high school players.



Time: Why We Need Hit Counts in Football

We count pitches in baseball to save arms. It's time to track hits in football to save lives.



Hard Knocks: Helmets and Concussions on Long Island

On Long Island, there are nearly 10,000 student-athletes playing football on 239 varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams at 116 high schools.



Virginia Tech to lead national, five-year study on head impacts in youth football

Virginia Tech is leading a $3.3 million, multi-center, five-year study that will track head impact exposure in children — the largest and most comprehensive biomedical study of youth football players to date.



A crash course in football helmets

Helmet price doesn't correlate to performance.



Live 5 News: Protecting our Players: Helmet ratings weigh concussion risks

Professor Stefan Duma, PhD, a leading researcher at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, hasn't found a way to stop concussions, but he is measuring risks.



Athletic Business: Virginia Tech Professor Explains Helmet Research

In February, the NFL suspended its concussion research program employing helmet sensors, citing player privacy and data-reliability concerns. Stefan Duma disagrees with that decision. After attending a military conference in 2003, the head of Virginia Tech's biomechanical engineering department helped the Hokies football program become the first in the nation to track head impacts.



Huffington Post: You Should Take A Second Look At Your Child's Hockey Helmet

Virginia Tech researchers on Monday released the findings of a three-year look into the ability of 32 popular hockey helmets to protect against concussions -- the school's first investigation of hockey helmets. 



Virginia Tech Engineers Create Hockey Helmet Safety Ratings

Virginia Tech's five-star rating system ranks helmets by their abilities to help prevent concussions. 



ESPN Outside the Lines: Hockey Head Safety

When Sidney Crosby was sidelined for nearly a year after suffering a concussion, it highlighted the issue of head injuries in hockey.



N.F.L. Suspends Use of Helmet Sensors

The N.F.L. will not use sensors in players’ helmets next season to measure head hits, ending — at least temporarily — one effort to gain a better understanding of concussions.


Bloomberg News: The Truth About the Safety Ratings That Sell Football Helmets

Virginia Tech’s STAR system is widely influential, but does it oversimplify the complex science around concussion risk?




Washingtonian: Can a Better Football Helmet Save Your Kid’s Brain?

Researchers at Virginia Tech developed a novel rating system for football helmets. Since then, NCAA squads, NFL teams, and parents across the country have demanded the top-rated equipment. Helmet makers followed suit, changing designs to meet the new standards. There’s only one problem: the scientists who say the safety data is fatally flawed.



NBC 10 Study: Some High School Football Teams Use Inadequate Helmets

There are new concerns over the football helmets some local high school players are wearing after university research suggested certain helmets put children at a higher risk for a concussion.

For over a month, the NBC10 investigators asked 271 high schools and school districts for their football helmet inventory. Only 76 schools responded to the request.


2 Investigators: Schools Using Football Helmets With Low Safety Ratings

2 Investigator Dave Savini took helmets belonging to a middle-school player and had them tested at a Virginia lab. The outcome raises concerns for many young players.



WKYT Investigates: 5 schools with less than 'good' football helmets

A month-long WKYT investigation discovered five high schools in central, southern and eastern Kentucky with football helmets deemed less than “good” by a rating system to denote their ability to reduce the risk of concussions.



NBC 5 Chicago: Years After Helmet Safety Study, High School Equipment Still Mixed

NBC5 Investigates asked for the helmet inventories of over 300 public and private high schools from throughout Chicago and the suburbs. That survey revealed over a dozen schools using lower-rated helmets, which were considered either “marginal” or “not recommended” in a Virginia Tech study. Phil Rogers reports. 



Good Morning America: Virginia Tech Finds Riddell's New Flex Helmet Design Better Than Any Other

The university has tracked more than 300,000 football impacts to research helmet effectiveness.



Popular Mechanics: These Helmets Will Save the NFL from Itself
This season, new helmet technology may mean fewer concussions in college and the NFL.



New York Times: Spartan Hockey Helmets Going Under Microscope

 Hockey helmets may be on the verge of a radical makeover, as scientists and engineers at Virginia Tech prepare a rating system that measures each brand’s and model’s ability to reduce the risk of concussion.



Virginia Tech unveils hockey STAR helmet testing procedures in open meeting

Virginia Tech biomedical engineering researchers will meet with scientists and manufacturers of hockey helmets on July 22 as the university prepares for the fall 2014 release of the Hockey STAR safety ratings for head protection worn by professional and youth hockey players.



SB Nation: New Riddell SpeedFlex football helmet pits technology vs. concussions

As the concussion issue looms over all of football, a handful of college programs across the country are trying out a new helmet system this spring.



NBC 11 Atlanta: Football helmet safety - Check your school's helmet rating

11Alive's Catie Beck has spent the past month investigating the types of helmets used in area high schools.



Chicago Tribune: NFL, players see progress in tackling concussions

Fans watching Sunday's Super Bowl can count on seeing long passes, big tackles and dramatic running plays. They should not see a player lying prone on the field after the sickening crack of a helmet-to-helmet hit, thanks to an NFL effort to reduce player concussions.



Fox News: Football helmet design can lower concussion risk, study finds

As the Super Bowl approaches on Sunday, more and more attention is being paid to the concussion epidemic surrounding the game of football. During the 2013 regular season, NFL players suffered a total of 121 concussions, equating to more than seven concussions per week.



Virginia Tech News: New study finds differences in concussion risk between football helmets

Football helmets can be designed to reduce the risk of concussions, according to a new study by some of the nation's leading concussion researchers published today in the Journal of Neurosurgery.


1/27/2014 Will football embrace sensors for concussion research? Hit Count certification program is created

The day when football consistently tracks head hit counts like baseball measures pitch counts took another step toward reality.



Virginia Tech News: University announces 2013 football helmet ratings; one more added to the 5 star mark

Virginia Tech has released the results of its 2013 adult football helmet ratings, designed to identify differences between the abilities of helmets to reduce the risk of concussion. 

Ten-Year Plan

Outlining the future of STAR ratings in multiple categories.
view the plan (PDF)

Hockey STAR: A Methodology for Assessing the Biomechanical Performance of Hockey Helmets

2016 Helmet Ratings Symposium: Agenda

Recent News


Hard-hitting research: Virginia Tech research has revolutionized the sports helmet industry

It kicked off with little more than two self-described sports nuts who had an idea, $50,000 in good-faith cash, and a cooperative future hall-of-fame college football coach.



Outside Online: We Designed the World's Safest Helmet

Helmet ratings referenced in a piece on a theoretical, highly effective, best-case-scenario helmet for bicyclists.


News archive

Note: Any player in any sport can sustain a head injury with even the very best head protection.  This analysis is based on data trends and probabilities, and therefore a specific person’s risk may vary.  This variation is likely dominated by genetic differences, health history, and impact factors such as muscle activation.