If you’re going to play the fastest game on two feet, you’ll need a solid helmet. Whether you’re shopping for your very first lacrosse helmet, or if you’re just in the market for a new one, here are a few tips for finding the best option.
Parts of a lacrosse helmet
Most lacrosse helmets consist of four things: a shell, visor, facemask, and chin bar.
The shell of your helmet is typically constructed from a single piece of impact-resistant, lightweight plastic or polycarbonate material. While the shell's main function is to protect your head from impact, most helmets today are super lightweight and well-ventilated to ensure your comfort. Internally, shells are loaded with thick impact-absorbing foam to help keep your noggin safe.
Some helmets will come with a visor option, which can be a great addition during those late Summer games. Visors will help shield your eyes from the sun, and are typically integrated with the same material as your shell.
Facemasks have a pretty obvious purpose. They keep your face shielded from any errant balls or stick checks. They’re usually made from some type of strong, lightweight material like tungsten or steel.
Your chin bar is what wraps around the lower half of your facemask and protects your chin and the top of your throat. It’s generally integrated with and made from the same material as your shell. This is also where your chin straps connect.
Safety first! It's crucial that your helmet fits properly. If it's too large, it will rattle around and not protect you the way that it's supposed to. Here’s a quick technique to make sure your helmet fits correctly:
- Loosen your helmet all the way using the size adjuster on the back
- Place the helmet on your head, putting your forehead in first
- Use the adjuster and your chin straps to tighten your helmet until it doesn't move at all when you apply for to the outside of it.
A properly fitted helmet should sit squarely and soundly on your head, resting mostly an inch or so above your eyebrows. Your eyes should be looking out through the top bars of the facemask, not the middle or bottom. The helmet should sit comfortably on your forehead, not too tightly squeezed. If you can already feel a headache coming on, it might be adjusted too tightly, or just be the wrong size. Finally, your chinstrap should feel snug, but still loose enough for you to be able to wiggle a finger between the strap and your chin.
Always make sure your helmet is up to the latest standards and regulations of your local league. Also, if buying a used helmet, make sure that any dents, scratches or breaks in the helmet aren't presenting a safety hazard to you.