Coaches may find it difficult to know what to believe when it comes to evaluating helmet safety performance standards. The Virginia Tech 5-Star Helmet Rating System is one of the most reputable models. 

Since 2011, Virginia Tech researchers have been providing unbiased helmet ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. The helmet ratings are the culmination of over 10 years of research on head impacts in sports and identifying which helmets best reduce concussion risk. The work is done as part of Virginia Tech's service mission and is independent of any funding or influence from helmet manufacturers.

"We have two goals with our rating system," said Steve Rowson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech. "We want to educate consumers and players as to which helmets are the safest. And we want to provide a tool for manufacturers to help improve safety and design."


PHOTO: The study put several helmets through a series of impact tests from several directions, including to the front, back, and both sides of the helmet.

Through a series of impact tests, helmets are evaluated using two fundamental concepts: 1) each test is weighted based on how frequently players experience them and 2) helmets that lower head acceleration reduce concussion risk. The impact conditions and weightings are sport-specific, and inclusive of the broad range of head impacts that athletes are likely to experience. These methods have been published as peer-reviewed articles in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.

"We know which impacts cause concussions, which are most frequent, and which locations on the helmet are hit the most," Rowson said.


The 2022 Virginia Tech Varsity Football Helmet Ratings

In total there were 26 helmets tested during the study.  Here is how each helmet ranked along with their star rating.

* A Lower Score Means Better Protection

*Listed cost is the price of the helmet at the time the study was conducted

For more information on how the helmet study was conducted, Click Here