What are common problems with a kid’s lacrosse helmet (part 1)?

This post was written by Coach Tom on March 11, 2009
Posted Under: Equipment,Helmet,Kids Lacrosse

Helmets are one of the most important pieces of required equipment in kids lacrosse.  They are much better today than when I played.  I’ve heard that the powers-that-be continue to emphasize safety and the prevention of concussions.  Nevertheless kids’ helmets often present several problems for their parents and coaches.

It’s very important to have a helmet that fits properly.  Sometimes the munchkins get helmets that are too small.  It’s hard to believe that those helmets, seemingly gigantic in relation to a child’s head, can actually be too small.  It does happen occasionally.  One way to evaluate whether the helmet is too small is to let the player wear it for about 30 minutes.  It should be buckled during this test.  If he complains that it’s too tight or hurts, then it’s likely too small.

Before returning the helmet, though, ensure that you’ve properly adjusted the chin strap.  His chin strap should be tight enough to keep the helmet from moving around when he moves, but not so tight that it hurts when it’s been buckled for a while.  I’m a fan of threading the top straps through the large openings in his face mask closest to the top snaps on the helmet.  I tell parents don’t ever unbuckle the top straps once they’re properly adjusted.  With the top straps buckled he can remove his helmet by first unbuckling the bottom straps and moving his chin strap up and over his mouth or nose before trying to take the helmet off.  This procedure will loosen the chin strap sufficiently so that the top straps can remain buckled.  If you have a player who unbuckles those top straps, tape them down so that he can’t.

It’s usually easier to bring the bottom straps outside the face mask to buckle on the lower snaps.  On some helmets, though, you may have to thread those bottom straps through face mask.  Experiment; see what works best; and stick to it.

If his helmet hurts, your best bet is getting a larger size.  On the other hand, if the next larger size is too big, you’ve got another problem.  The munchkins already look like bobble head dolls and a larger helmet exaggerates that effect.  Safety and not sartorial splendor, though, is the key issue.  A helmet too large will move around on his head and that’s unsafe.

You can try to make the next larger size helmet a bit “smaller.”  First, ask the retailer of the helmet for suggestions.  If the retailer can’t help, sometimes placing a dew-rag or bandanna tied pirate-style on the player’s head will add enough bulk to create a comfortable, snug fit.  If you need a little more bulk, try cutting the visor off of a baseball cap and have him wear that under his helmet.  As a last resort you might try building up the front and back sides of the interior or the right and left sides with successive layers of athletic tape until you get the fit you want.

I’ve known some people to go back to the smaller helmet and scrape out some of the padding where the fit is too tight.  This approach has always scared me because it’s reducing the padding inside the helmet.  I don’t recommend it.

Reader Comments

Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

Written By KrisBelucci on June 2nd, 2009 @ 23:39

Great to have you.

Written By Coach Tom on June 4th, 2009 @ 01:23

Hi! I like your srticle and I would like very much to read some more information on this issue. Will you post some more?

Written By GarykPatton on June 16th, 2009 @ 06:16

I hope to write another helmet post soon. Is there any other topic that you’d like me to discuss?

Written By Coach Tom on June 18th, 2009 @ 08:42

I plan another helmet post soon.

Written By Coach Tom on June 23rd, 2009 @ 20:00

You really need those face off possessions. Without a good face off man it is really difficult to win games. I am actually the go to face off guy for My DIII School and I can tell you from experience that it is really difficult to win games on defense.The point i was getting to though was that every time i go to face off my helmet straps snap off the helmet and i fix 1 or two of them every face off. Anyone looking to improve their face off game here is a site that may help you out. It breaks down the pros and cons of many of today’s face off heads being used.

Written By laxerpro22 on July 7th, 2009 @ 21:04

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