Understanding Recertification and Reconditioning

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Recertification and reconditioning are necessary to preserve helmet and faceguard protectiveness.

To maintain the original certification, which means proof of compliance to a NOCSAE standard, helmets and faceguards must be reconditioned and recertified according to manufacturer instructions. NOCSAE is the only standards organization that provides a standard for equipment recertification. NOCSAE athletic equipment standards are based on extensive study and scientific understanding of the mechanisms of sport injuries. NOCSAE also funds millions of dollars in research to inform ongoing updates to standards.

These are some of the efforts, in combination with reconditioning and recertification, that ensure certified equipment continues to be as protective as possible across its useful life.

Equipment manufacturers are required to prove compliance to a certification authority, and to satisfy the certifier that they have substantial quality control and quality assurance programs in place.

National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA) members are licensed by NOCSAE to recertify select helmets and faceguards. This involves highly technical testing procedures to ensure athletic equipment continues to meet NOCSAE’s protective standards. Recertification primarily applies to football helmets and faceguards. In addition, lacrosse helmets and softball/baseball helmets are eligible for recertification.

  • Reconditioning is the inspection, cleaning, sanitizing and repair/restoration of athletic equipment to the original performance standard.
  • Recertification is retesting previously certified athletic equipment to ensure the equipment continues to meet the original requirements of the NOCSAE standard. The process includes updated labeling.

What athletic equipment is eligible for recertification?

NOCSAE publishes recertification standards only for football helmets and faceguards, lacrosse helmets and faceguards, and softball and baseball helmets. Follow manufacturer guidelines for recertification. Some manufacturers do not permit certain models to be recertified. Equipment that is not permitted to be recertified must include a permanent label that specifies when the original certification to NOCSAE standards expires.

Is reconditioning and recertification required by manufacturers? How often?

To maintain the original certification, helmets must be recertified according to manufacturer instructions. The interval for recertification can vary according to each manufacturer’s requirements.

Who is responsible for sending helmets to NAERA facilities to be reconditioned and recertified?

High schools, universities, private leagues and even individual owners are responsible for ensuring their equipment is reconditioned and recertified. NAERA recommends end-of-season reconditioning along with regular inspection and cleaning during in-season use. Inspections and cleanings should be done by a school or organization staff member who has knowledge of manufacturer recommendations.

If a school has helmets that weren’t used during the last season, should those be sent to a NAERA facility for reconditioning and recertification?

Yes, those helmets may need recertification. The frequency of recertification is determined by years elapsed (not by use) since the last recertification. If a certified helmet is not recertified within the interval specified by the manufacturer, the existing certification expires. An expired certification can be renewed by recertification.

How long does the reconditioning and recertification process take?

On average, the reconditioning and recertification process takes six or more weeks. In some cases, helmets are stored when received and put through the reconditioning and recertification process closer to the delivery date requested by the school. Production time at NAERA facilities may vary.

When helmets arrive at a NAERA facility how are they processed and selected for NOCSAE drop testing?

When helmet shipments are received, random samples are tagged for testing. These randomly selected helmets are tested by a technician both before and after reconditioning using the NOCSAE drop test, which requires specialized equipment. All helmets are carefully analyzed and go through a thorough reconditioning process.

How are helmets labeled once the recertification and reconditioning process is completed?

A dated recertification label is added to every helmet with the name of the NAERA recertifying facility and year of recertification. These labels clearly state: This helmet has been recertified according to procedures established to meet the NOCSAE Standard.

What steps are taken to ensure quality control in the recertification and reconditioning process at NAERA facilities?

NAERA’s NOCSAE-licensed members across the United States are inspected regularly by a third party to confirm quality control assurance