Improper Fit in American Youth Football Helmets Across One Competitive Season

Susan W. Yeargin, Monica R. Lininger, Margaret Coughlin, Rebecca M. Hirschhorn, Patrick Jurewicz, Matthew Moore, Hayley O’Connell, James Mensch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Improper helmet fit is related to sport-related concussion symptomology. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of improperly fit helmets in American youth tackle football players across one competitive season. Four recreation leagues including 147 players (45.2 ± 14.7 cm, 147.5 ± 9.0 kg), aged 7–12 years, participated in pre-season and post-season data collection timepoints. Participant and league demographics were collected at pre-season. Helmet fit was assessed at pre- and post-season using a 13-item checklist. A helmet was defined as improperly fit if failed to comply with or more of the checklist items. Most players (84%) rented helmets from the league. At preseason, 71.4% of helmets, and at post-season 79.6%, were improperly fit with no significant change over time (p = 0.14). Of the 105 improperly fit helmets at the start of the season, 61% were still considered improperly fit at post season. The 11–12 year old age group had significantly more improperly fit helmets than the 7–10 year old age group at post-season (p = 0.033), but not pre-season (p = 0.655). American youth football players depend on the league to fit their helmet. Most players did not meet at least one checklist criteria. Helmets improperly fit at preseason were still not fit at post.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2924-2931
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Athletic injuries
  • Concussion
  • Football
  • Head protective devices
  • Helmet
  • Pediatric
  • Risk factors
  • Tackle
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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