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The article below is reposted in its entirety from USA Football's website:
Now that the youth football season is over, the process of returning equipment to your child’s team or program should be underway. Most programs issue everything from helmets to shoulder pads to pants. However, some parents may individually choose to purchase equipment, especially if it gives them some additional peace of mind when it comes to their child’s safety.
It’s more common than ever for parents to invest in a helmet for their child. But when the season is over, don’t just pack up the helmet with your child’s other equipment and store it away in the garage.
After each season, it is essential to send your child’s helmet out for reconditioning.
“It’s very important,” said Anthony Colangelo, manager of consumer services for Riddell, the leading manufacturer of football helmets and shoulder pads. “It’s hard for parents to justify putting a little more money into the helmet and then realizing sometimes when it’s too late that they need to have this process completed, so we try to reach out to as many people as possible.”
Riddell is the largest athletic reconditioner in the world. The company not only offers reconditioning for Riddell helmets, but other manufacturers’ helmets as well. They recondition about 1.2 million helmets a year, and many of them come from individual customers.
When the season is over, it’s a good idea to put your child’s gear in an equipment bag to put away for the offseason, but it’s vital to get the helmet sent out for reconditioning.
“Sometimes it gets forgotten about by throwing it in your trunk or in your garage,” said Colangelo. “We like to communicate to people to send it to us, let’s get it cleaned up, inspected, and certified, and get it back to you in a nice, clean, ready-for-the-field condition.”
Riddell recommends that you get your child’s helmet reconditioned annually or as often as possible. Also, it’s important to begin the process early enough to ensure your child gets the helmet back in time for the start of next season. The last thing you want to do is procrastinate, because the process does take a little bit of time.
“We often run into situations where people wait,” said Erin Griffin, vice president of marketing & communications for Riddell. “Then the football season is rolling around and starting to get ramped up in June or July and they want their helmet, but it just doesn’t happen that quickly.”
The process for getting a helmet reconditioned is outlined on Riddell’s website.
But here’s a thumbnail sketch of how the process works:
The process begins with a phone call to Riddell’s reconditioning team. They’ll gather some basic contact information from you, then ask for specific information regarding the helmet you are sending in.
Many people will ask what happens if the color of the helmet needs to change or if they can add a new feature to the helmet.
“That’s something that we offer during the reconditioning process,” said Colangelo. “Customers will see new face masks that come out that they like the look of and the style of it.”
After all of the information is gathered, Riddell will email a form that outlines everything that was discussed during the phone call. The helmet owner signs and dates the form, then prepares the helmet for shipping. The email will also include a Fed Ex shipping label because Riddell takes care of the outbound shipping.
Once Riddell receives the helmet, they do a complete evaluation of the helmet and check all the interior components like the hardware, facemask and shell. Then they reach out to the consumer and outline everything that needs to be done in order for the helmet to be recertified.
“We get the process started with a method of payment,” said Colangelo. “Then it’s usually another month or so to get it back in hand. There’s free shipping to get it back to the customer.”
It’s important to note that the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) recommends helmet reconditioning and recertification annually. However, the NOCSAE will be updating that standard in January 2017.
After the new standards take effect, newly-manufactured helmets will be required to be recertified every other year at a minimum, in accordance with manufacturers’ warranty validation requirements, in order to remain NOCSAE certified.
The new standard won’t retroactively apply to helmets that were manufactured prior to January 2017, but it’s still important to have your child’s helmet reconditioned and recertified on a regular basis.
Remember, don’t just pack your child’s helmet away this off-season. After all, the process for reconditioning and recertification is a simple and easy.
Peter Schwartz is an anchor and reporter for the CBS Sports Radio Network. He also writes a CBS New York sports blog at http://newyork.cbslocal.com/tag/peter-schwartz/. You can follow him on Twitter @pschwartzcbsfan. Peter’s son Bradley plays for the Levittown Red Devils of the Nassau Suffolk Football League on Long Island in New York. His son Jared cheers on Bradley and then Bradley returns the favor when Jared is playing soccer.
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