Everything You Need to Know to Buy a Soccer Concussion Headguard
Jan 18, 2022
There was a time when concussions didn’t get much press. You'd hear about athletes getting them but those headlines quickly fizzled out. Now, concussions seem a lot scarier. They’re now blamed for athletes dying young, retiring early, or enduring a lifetime of effects.
If you’re the parent of a youth soccer player, the idea of wearing a soccer concussion headguard might sound good. But if you're like many parents, you probably don't know where to start. This post will give you some pointers on how to buy the right one.
Concussion Headgear Sizing
Choosing the right fit is vital to reap the full protective benefits of a concussion headguard. It has to fit your child’s head size for it to stay secure on the skull and reduce the force of impact. The good news is that choosing the right size is simple.
Take a look at the chart below.
Here’s the breakdown. First, measure the circumference of your child’s head at the widest part of their skull. Once you get the measurement, refer to the chart above to pick their size. So if their head measures 21.5 inches (54.5 cm) in circumference, you would order a size 4 concussion headguard.
Now here’s a small consideration: there are three fits you can wear: a relaxed fit, a regular fit, and a tighter fit. The fit you choose will depend on your child’s head shape and hair thickness among other factors. Also, keep in mind that a looser or tighter fit may feel more comfortable for them.
You’ll notice in the chart above that each size (boxes labeled “1-6”) has three squares attached to them. These squares represent head measurements. The bottom square in each box overlaps with the top square in the next box. So if your child’s head measurement corresponds with two boxes, that means they can wear two sizes.
Going back to our example, if your child measures at 21.5 inches (54.5 cm) and you want a regular fit, you’d stick with the size 4. But if you think a tighter fit is better, you can choose a size 3 since it will also fit the 21.5-inch measurement. It will feel tighter than the size 4.
But if they’re right in the middle, let’s say with a measurement of 21.75 inches (55 cm), they should stick to the size 4.
The beauty of concussion headgear is that you’ll likely only have to buy one size. After all, kids’ heads stop growing after the toddler stage unlike the rest of their bodies!
Concussion Headgear Research
Manufacturers of concussion headgear often receive scrutiny for their products. Critics are hasty to say that headgear isn’t effective.
We’ll admit this one fact: headgear doesn’t prevent concussions 100%. But then again, shin guards can’t prevent ALL leg injuries. Mouthguards can’t prevent ALL dental injuries. No protective gear in soccer or any sport is perfect.
But concussion headgear can reduce the impact forces of head trauma and there’s research to prove it. And if you’re going to buy concussion headgear, then you want to buy a product that researchers have tested. We're talking about unbiased, third-party research (research not done by the manufacturer).
One such example is the research conducted by the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab.
The study tested 22 headgear models, through an impact simulator that mimics the collision of two players' heads colliding. They would measure the speed and location of impact to see much force the headgear reduced. The researchers then assigned a rating of 2-5 stars. Of the 22 models, 3 models were able to reduce concussion risk by at least 70%, earning each of them five stars. Our Storelli ExoShield headguard earned 5 stars and demonstrated an ability to reduce concussion risks by 84%. This was the highest efficiency rate measured at the time.
Concussion Headgear Certifications
Choosing a product that’s earned some stripes through research is one thing, but for extra kudos, choose a product that’s “certified”. You might ask, “who or what certifies soccer concussion headgear?” or “what does that certification look like or even mean?”
Well, there’s one organization’s stamp of approval you should look for - the ASTM. This organization has been around since 1898. Their job is to develop and publish technical standards for a variety of materials, products, systems, and services. The company’s goal is to create safety standards to ensure that consumers are buying safe and reliable items.
Here’s a fun fact: many of the products and services you already buy or use have an ASTM stamp of approval on them.
Soccer concussion headgear with an ASTM certification gets tested and approved as being safe and effective. Most products that are ASTM certified will carry the logo in their technical manual. But you can also find the ASTM logo on the product itself or a manufacturer's website.
Our ExoShield headguard is ASTM certified, and you can find the logo in our manual and online.
Concussion Headgear Materials
We won’t spend too much time on materials used in headgear, but it’s a noteworthy factor to consider as well. The reality is that some materials are stronger and tougher than others. Also, the way manufacturers incorporate some materials increases headguard's ability to absorb forces.
For example, take Team Wendy® Zorbium® foam that we use in our ExoShield headguard. This alien-sounding foam is polyurethane-based. It's designed to withstand damage from thousands of repetitive impacts (ie. subconcussive impacts) or less frequent, but significant damage from big hits. It works by absorbing and dispersing impact forces, making it ideal for military and law enforcement usage.
You heard that right - the same stuff used by soldiers and police officers goes into this headgear. Soldiers and cops rely on this material for protection against explosive blasts, and projectile debris. You’re essentially getting bomb-blast protection against concussions with this material.
Concussion Headgear Usage
Now here’s a conundrum many parents face - how often and when should your wear concussion headgear? The answer is as much as possible.
We recommend that youth players wear concussion headgear especially for headers and aerial challenges. We also recommend that players wear concussion headgear if they have suffered a concussion before.
The reason is that experiencing one concussion increases the risk of getting another one. Worse, experiencing too many concussions can lead to second impact syndrome (SIS) a rare but often fatal brain illness. So the more protection you have against a concussion, the better.
Concussion Headgear History
A powerful testimony of a headgear’s efficacy is by reviewing players who have worn it - both professional and amateur ones.
You might think that players wearing a particular concussion headband is nothing more than a brand endorsement. But, we’re talking about your head here, not just shoes. Players wearing headgear have likely had a history of concussions and want to prevent themselves from further injury. They wouldn’t buy headgear that doesn’t have serious backing through research.
That brings us to our ExoShield headguard. We’ve had some high-profile footballers wear our headguard for over a decade. You might recognize some of these names - Wayne Rooney, Cristian Chivu and Petr Cech are among them, to name a few. Remember, these are former elite players wearing a product to protect their brains from harm.
Aside from looking at famous players, you should always read reviews. A simple look at Amazon will give you the average rating and the number of reviews for a particular headguard. Be sure to not only check the numbers but the reviews themselves. Customers often provide insights and answer questions that even manufacturers themselves don’t discuss!
Concussion Headgear Style
Last but not least is style. True, soccer concussion headgear isn’t a fashion accessory. But we get that players (especially younger ones) don’t want to look…"goofy”. Again, style is subjective, and whether your child will like a headguard’s design or not is personal.
With that said, some headgear on the market looks too bulky or distracting. We won’t name names. But we designed our Storelli ExoShield headguard with the intention of it looking discreet.
It doesn’t look like a bulky helmet or some sort of contraption. It looks more like a headband you’d buy from Nike or Adidas, but a tad larger. If you think traditional headbands look normal, then you’ll like our headguard.
Choose the Winning Soccer Concussion Headguard
We’ve given you the key tips needed to buy a soccer concussion headguard. Of course, you might still have questions, which we can answer if you contact us directly. We’re also going to follow up on this post with more tips on how to choose and wear soccer concussion headgear soon. We want to give you all the tools and resources needed to keep your young players safe from concussions. So Stay tuned.
Are you looking for concussion headgear to reduce the risk of brain injury? Take a look at our ExoShield headguard and learn how it can help.