February 16, 2017
The Ball is in Your Court
Katharine M. Nohr, JD
With all of the discussion about concussion prevention, assessment and treatment, there’s a fundamental reality that’s seldom addressed—the necessity of buckling the helmet chin strap. Helmets are designed to protect an athlete’s skull and will easily become dislodged and not perform as intended if they aren’t fastened properly. The chin strap is designed to secure the helmet to the player’s head to prevent the helmet from falling off and/or causing injury when it is loose enough to be driven into the head with the force of a fall or tackle.
As a certified triathlon official and triathlon safety director, I am constantly surprised at the number of cyclists who wear their bicycle helmets as hats. The USA Triathlon Competitive Rules and the International Triathlon Union rules require that helmet chin straps be buckled. Most athletes comply, but there were always those who violate the rule or, instead, keep their chin straps so loose that they dangle mid-throat. The chin straps would swing with every movement and if they fell, the helmet would surely topple off like a hat or almost strangle them by hanging from their neck. Read more