Football parents know the angst of researching the safest gear. Virginia Tech's Helmet Lab has now taken the guesswork out of it!

Before we go into the nuts and bolts of how the helmets were tested, here is what you really want to know:

5-Star Helmets (Best Available)

VICIS: Zero1 Youth ($495.00)

Xenith: Youth X2E+ ($199.00), Youth Epic+ ($284.00)

Schutt: Youth F7 ($569.95), Youth Vengeance A3+ ($139.95), Youth Vengeance A3 ($109.95)

Riddell: Youth SpeedFlex ($324.99), Youth Victor-i ($124.99)

4-Star helmets are ranked as very good, 3-Star helmets are considered good, and 2-Star helmets are ranked adequate. Of the 17 helmet models tested, the three lowest performing were the Riddell Youth Speed Classic, the Riddell Youth Speed, and the Schutt Youth Vengeance Z10, all of which earned 3-star ratings (still good). To see the whole list, visit the Helmet Lab website.

football helmets

How were the helmets evaluated?

Concussions can occur with physical blows to the head resulting in injury to the brain. The role of helmets is to lessen the effects of the impact and reduce the risk of concussions. Youth football players, ages 10 to 14 years old, were outfitted with special sensors on their helmets to collect the data used for this project.

The tests analyzed the helmets' ability to reduce linear and rotational acceleration of the head, which ultimately can lead to concussions. The highest-rated helmets provide the best reduction of concussion risks during the full range of head impacts studied.

football players

What other factors should be considered?

Naturally, you want your child to be safe. Other factors to consider when buying a helmet include cost, fit, and comfort. Be sure to have your child try on all of the options and purchase the safest model you can afford. 

Keep in mind, no helmet is 100 percent concussion-proof; some just do a better job at prevention than others.

What is the Helmet Lab?

The Helmet Lab is a Virginia Tech-based initiative, partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, which conducts research on all types of helmets and concussion risk reduction. They provide comprehensive ratings of helmets on the market and make their findings widely available once their research is completed.

Learn more about The Helmet Lab or make a donation toward their efforts by visiting their website.

Does your child play football? What are your thoughts on this helmet rating list- - is this ground-breaking information or is this already common knowledge out on the field? Let us know in the comments below!

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