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Knowing when to replace a helmet?

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Old
05-27-2009, 03:20 PM
  #1
night-timer
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Knowing when to replace a helmet?

I ride a motorbike and, in the biking world, we say a helmet should be replaced after one heavy knock. (This even includes accidentally dropping the helmet.)

Is it the same for replacing hockey helmets?

Motorcyclists also advocate never buying a second-hand helmet. (I mean, how many hits has it taken that you don't know about?)

We even have guidelines on how to place a motorcycle helmet down; you don't rest it on the crown (upside down). It needs to sit face up.

I have found during falls that the side of a hockey helmet is not as protective as the rear of the helmet. Even though I don't play in a particularly rough or mean-spirited league, I have gotten temporary minor headaches from falls (luckily not too many!) where the side of my head has connected with the ice, more than the rear of the head.

So, exactly what are the guidelines (from players and/or manufacturers) on the right time to replace a helmet that may have outlived its lifespan?

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05-27-2009, 03:24 PM
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the only thing i go by is feel/condition and that certification sticker that shows an "expiry date"

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05-27-2009, 04:19 PM
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noobman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shotty View Post
the only thing i go by is feel/condition and that certification sticker that shows an "expiry date"
I thought that certification expirations were only in the 'States?

Anyways, my advice is to replace a helmet once it physically starts to break down. If there are cracks in the plastic or loosening/degrading pieces of foam inside then you should really look into a new one.

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05-27-2009, 05:13 PM
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Motorcycle helmets are designed to withstand one major impact. Some hockey helmets are also only meant to withstand one major impact, while others can handle multiple impacts.

When do you replace a hockey helmet? It depends on the type of foam used -- vinyl nitrile or EPP. Vinyl nitrile has a memory and will return to it's original shape, so it can withstand multiple impacts; but offers less protection. EPP foam, on the other hand, doesn't have a memory. One major blow and the structure of the foam crushes, keeping your head very safe -- but also making the helmet unsafe to re-use. (EPP foam is also used in motorcycle helmets, bicycle helmets, etc.)

In the past, most helmets were vinyl nitrile, either single-density or dual-density (softer foam against your head, harder foam against the shell). EPP is getting more popular, though, so it's best to check what foam your specific model uses.

If you've never had your head slam into the boards or ice, then a rule of thumb is five years. After that period, the foam starts to harden up and gets less and less protective.


Last edited by densetsu: 05-28-2009 at 02:41 PM.
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05-27-2009, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noobman View Post
I thought that certification expirations were only in the 'States?
True, HECC certification has an expiration date and CSA certification doesn't. But the HECC expiration is still a good guideline to go by. It's not like once the helmet comes into Canada from the US, it becomes immortal and will last forever.

There are times I wish CSA stickers had expiration dates too. You see guys with helmets from the 80's and you just have to shake your head...

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05-27-2009, 05:38 PM
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I don't know about any concrete timelines, but on the newer helmets with those "gel packs" in them ( you know, the anti concussion technology) they tend to get a little hard after a few years. If you play in a contact league, or have a history of concussion, might want to replace it then. Other than that, i dont' think there's much going on behind the scenes, it's good to go until the foam is visibly deteriorating or the plastic cracks.

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05-27-2009, 05:42 PM
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ArGarBarGar
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I've used three helmets in my 14 year hockey career.

That is probably not a good thing, considering the foam on my second to last helmet is hard as a rock.

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05-27-2009, 07:45 PM
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I've had the same CCM helmet for nine years. The foam feels like concrete.

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05-27-2009, 09:23 PM
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I just bought a new helmet and should be good for a few years. I just like others here have old helmets with the foam as hard as a rock. My fave old helm is the Cooper SK2000 ... CLASSIC!

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05-28-2009, 12:39 PM
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Whoa, nice! I have a CCM HT2.

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05-28-2009, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pog Form View Post
Whoa, nice! I have a CCM HT2.
I have a blue, black, white and a green set of those and they are all crap at this point the foam is dead dead dead now. The green one is still good though.

I wish they would last forever but no such luck.

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05-28-2009, 02:39 PM
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I have a Cooper XL-7!



I haven't worn it since I was 8 or 9, though, so it's probably a bit small. Not my pic either, mine has the full cage, so it's totally epic. That's epic as in "epic fail". I also have a SK2000, but like the XL-7 it's junior-sized, otherwise I'd slap on an HM40 cage and wear it to drop-in games.

When I play out I'm in a HT2. I've actually bought new foam for it, then just ripped out the old stuff and used it as a template for cutting out the new stuff. I used Rubatex Vinyl Nitrile 310V foam.

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06-05-2009, 09:23 PM
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CSA certification on hockey helmets is void after one violent impact.

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06-06-2009, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockeyfan68 View Post
I have a blue, black, white and a green set of those and they are all crap at this point the foam is dead dead dead now. The green one is still good though.

I wish they would last forever but no such luck.
I just have a black one. I want to find a blue one, but I haven't had much luck.

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06-06-2009, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pog Form View Post
I just have a black one. I want to find a blue one, but I haven't had much luck.
Good luck on your quest ... I gave my blue one to my brother as he wanted it, it was a regular blue and not a darker navy color. He doesn't mind the foam being dead in it.

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06-07-2009, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockeyfan68 View Post
Good luck on your quest ... I gave my blue one to my brother as he wanted it, it was a regular blue and not a darker navy color. He doesn't mind the foam being dead in it.
Google still turns up a bunch of HT2s for sale new. Sizes and colors are unpredictable, but they're there.

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06-08-2009, 11:35 AM
  #17
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Google still turns up a bunch of HT2s for sale new. Sizes and colors are unpredictable, but they're there.
Yeah, I was able to find one reputable looking place that had a new blue HT2, so I bought it. When it arrived, it turned out to be too small, so I had to exchange it. 'Twas a sad day.

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Old
06-08-2009, 09:35 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by densetsu View Post
Motorcycle helmets are designed to withstand one major impact. Some hockey helmets are also only meant to withstand one major impact, while others can handle multiple impacts.

When do you replace a hockey helmet? It depends on the type of foam used -- vinyl nitrile or EPP. Vinyl nitrile has a memory and will return to it's original shape, so it can withstand multiple impacts; but offers less protection. EPP foam, on the other hand, doesn't have a memory. One major blow and the structure of the foam crushes, keeping your head very safe -- but also making the helmet unsafe to re-use. (EPP foam is also used in motorcycle helmets, bicycle helmets, etc.)

In the past, most helmets were vinyl nitrile, either single-density or dual-density (softer foam against your head, harder foam against the shell). EPP is getting more popular, though, so it's best to check what foam your specific model uses.

If you've never had your head slam into the boards or ice, then a rule of thumb is five years. After that period, the foam starts to harden up and gets less and less protective.
.... Thanks. My helmet is the Bauer 8500 - is this vinyl nitrile or EPP?

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