Fitting a Child with a Football Helmet

Football Helmet pic
Football Helmet
Image: usafootball.com

Ali Mesiwala, MD, joined the Chaparral Medical Group, Inc., as a neurosurgeon and its medical director in 2005. Beyond his professional activities, Ali Mesiwala, MD, gives back to the local community as a medical director with the Snoop Youth Football League.

The helmet is the single most important piece of equipment a young football player owns. In order to reap the full protective benefits of a helmet, children and their parents must find a helmet that fits properly. The fitting process begins by making a general inspection of a helmet to ensure that both the exterior and interior of the helmet are clean and in good working order. Gathering pertinent information about the athlete is equally important, if not more so. Children who have experienced concussions or broken noses in the past should receive added attention, as should any athlete who has previously struggled with helmet fits.

Once general information has been processed, parents and coaches can begin taking helmet and athlete measurements. Measurements should begin at the side of the head, roughly one inch above a child’s brow. Helmet sizes range from medium to extra-large, accommodating cranial circumferences between 20 and 25.5 inches. Parents may need to contact specialty manufacturers if they cannot find an adequate match.

After finding a helmet with compatible measurements, parents and coaches must review the helmet as the player wears it during physical activities. To check the helmet’s fit on a child, adults can pull the helmet directly down to ensure evenly distributed pressure. The helmet should also be worked from side to side and rolled from the back of the head to the front. In both cases, the helmet should grip the player’s head firmly without sliding in any direction.

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