Monday, January 21, 2013

Hockey Helmet Testimonial

A month ago I bit the bullet and decided to change over to a hockey helmet instead of the regular skater helmets I've been using up to this point.  Why?  I was in the middle of scrimmage when someone tripped me, I fell down, and then got kicked in the back of the head where the helmet didn't protect it.  Oof.  It hurt and it terrified me, but I was lucky.  I didn't suffer from a concussion; it was incredibly fortunate, because so many derby skaters are dealing with concussions and head trauma.

Derby skaters, just like any contact sports athlete, are at risk for serious head injuries.  A lot of skaters skate in helmets that weren't originally designed for the risky contact the sport demands.  Some skaters also skate in helmets they've had for years, YEARS!  Even if you don't decide to get a hockey helmet, you should be aware that your skater helmet is not doing much protecting if you have taken a hard hit with it.

I know there has been some confusion with helmet ratings over the years. Some people believe that because hockey helmets don't go through the same testing that the skate helmets do.  Hockey helmets have been designed around a sport that has similar body checks, falls and added hockey puck impact.  Watch this video if you don't think that hockey helmets, depending on the model, can protect your brain from a high impact puck hit.  Now just imagine that being someone's skate going into your helmet. 

I've had my hockey helmet for month now, and I love it.  I got the Bauer 4500 in red, and I really think it was one of the best equipment buys I've made during my derby career.  My helmet is adjustable and it fits my head perfectly.  I made sure I ordered the right size to begin with, by going to the Bauer site and measuring my head.  My helmet has two screws on it and they can expand or contract the size of the helmet as needed, so if I decide to grow my hair out (God forbid) I can make the helmet bigger or smaller, depending on what I decide to do with my hair.  The great fit let's me giggle when a ref checks my helmet at equipment check, because it is a snug fit.  Sometimes, I think refs relish making you readjust your helmet; I'm kidding of course, a little.
Photo by Stallion Entertainment

One of my primary worries was about the derby panties fitting the helmet right, and so far so good!  I haven't had any issues with losing the panty or not getting it over my helmet.  My helmet also has ear coverings, which have saved me from a couple of shoulder hits to my ears.  I really don't even think about my helmet being different from the other ones on the track, although I will say that I was concerned that they looked ugly.  Yes, I made a stupid decision based on vanity instead of safety. Mea culpa.

Now, there are some things I don't absolutely love about my hockey helmet.  First of all, I'm a sweaty, sweaty skater, and because the hockey helmet doesn't have a sweat saver, I tend to have a sweaty head after practice.  I've gotten used to it over the last month, and I do bring a towel to practices and games to mop up.  The air vents help a lot, but I still need that towel.  Also, because I want to keep my hockey helmet adjustable, I will never be able to make it fabulously glittery, due to the adhesive and the glitter itself.  Oh well. Finally, I am not someone who does this anyway, but if you are someone who constantly puts a mouth guard into one of the vent holes of your helmet, you won't be able to do it with a hockey helmet because the holes are shaped differently.  May I suggest you get a comfortable mouth guard and keep it in?

Overall, I love my hockey helmet.  It thrills me to see more and more derby players adopt the hockey helmet as their protective gear of choice; we need to protect ourselves the best way possible, and I think that a hockey helmet is a great way to keep yourself safe.


  1. I second that! I have the same hockey helmet and I like it a lot. The guy at the store adjusted the fit for me and it fits PERFECTLY, which my two previous helmets never did. I like the look, I think it makes me look tough. My room mate/ fellow derby player suffered from weeks of hellish headaches and time off skates from a concussion (or two)and I don't want to go through that.

  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I just got a concussion this past Saturday and my dad has brought up the point that I need my brain in perfect condition for what I want to do for a living, and have just been asking around about helmets. Thanks again.

  3. My husband just bought me a hockey helmet, and I love it, too!

    I have a friend who recently was diagnosed with epilepsy brought on by concussions she suffered in derby - now she's not even allowed to drive a car (let alone play derby), so this is HUGE! Everyone should be knowledgeable regarding their safety when it comes to our sport, so I'm glad this is getting the attention it deserves! Let's protect our noggins!

  4. "..because hockey helmets don't go through the same testing that the skate helmets do"

    That would be hilarious if it weren't so dangerous. Many skateboard-style helmets go through *no* certification process at all before being sold to (in my mind, misguided) derby skaters .

    Thanks for fighting the good fight. Every derby skater should wear a certified helmet:

  5. I know you said you can't paint it glittery but I wonder if it could be painted at all, like a solid color. Do you know of anyone who has painted a hockey helmet at all?

    It should, of course, be safety over fashion....and I am seriously considering switching. I'm just wondering if I can have safety, comfort, and style all at once. :)

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