Youth football leagues across the United States are busy preparing for the upcoming season.
Commissioners are double-checking their equipment inventory to make sure they have enough certified helmets and shoulder pads for players this fall.
Regular annual inspection of football equipment allows league administrators the opportunity to recondition helmets and replace broken or old gear when necessary. Reconditioning is an important part to prolonging the life of equipment.
Riddell, the official helmet and equipment partner of USA Football, offers a reconditioning process that includes cleaning, sanitizing, sanding and painting helmets; inspecting for cracks and defects; and recertifying the helmet to the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) standard.
Every player should be outfitted with properly fitted and conditioned equipment.
The best time for leagues to complete an assessment is immediately following the season. Springtime presents another chance to manage inventory before the season begins.
Riddell media relations manager Erin Griffin provides a five-step process all leagues should consider when managing equipment inventory.
• Step 1: Organize the equipment room
Arrange all football equipment into piles within the equipment room or shed. The key is to declutter and organize the workspace.
• Step 2: Clean all practice apparel and evaluate equipment
Examine all football equipment or practice gear and complete an in-house inspection of the equipment. Coaches should look for damaged items and opportunities to repair those pieces. Discard items that cannot be repaired or are no longer usable.
• Step 3: Work with a representative from your equipment provider to access equipment
Bring in an account representative or contact your equipment provider to do an independent evaluation of your equipment. During this process, additional equipment may be discarded or selected for repair or reconditioning.
Note: Riddell can complete an assessment on all helmet manufacturers within your inventory.
• Step 4: Identify equipment that needs to be reconditioned
Gather all football helmets and shoulder pads that need to be sent off for reconditioning.
• Step 5: Equipment items are returned after reconditioning
Riddell will provide leagues with complete equipment inventory lists documenting the different ages for each piece of equipment. The inventory list also includes pieces that are no longer cleared for play.
Note: This final step lets each league know what equipment can be used on the football field. At this time, leagues can determine if new equipment orders are needed.
According to the National Athletic Equipment Recondition Association (NAERA), any football helmet 10 years or older from the manufacturing date will not be reconditioned. It is important to work with equipment providers as helmets reach the end of their life.
Youth football leagues looking to purchase new equipment may be able to take advantage of promotions or incentive programs.
Additionally, USA Football’s Equipment Grant Program can assist youth football leagues in need of new equipment. USA Football distributes more than $1 million annually to youth and high school programs in forms of equipment and uniform grants.
Leagues can work with a representative to figure out an equipment plan that fits their budgets.
Now is the perfect time to allocate funds for reconditioning and map out when helmets will be affected by the 10-year rule.
Proper maintenance of equipment helps protect football players.
For more information on USA Football’s Equipment Grant Program, visit http://www2.usafootball.com/grants.