BOSTON (CBS) — If Tom Brady’s going to play through his mid-40s as he has stated many times, he’s going to have to make a significant equipment change.
The NFL and NFLPA announced Monday that 10 helmet styles that performed poorly in laboratory testing have been banned for use in the league. Brady’s helmet — a Riddell VSR-4 — was on the list.
However, the announcement noted that players who wore the banned helmets in 2017 will be allowed to wear them in 2018. After that, though, the helmets won’t be allowed for use in the NFL.
“The goal of the study, as in prior years, was to determine which helmets best reduced head impact severity under laboratory conditions simulating concussion-causing impacts sustained by NFL players during games,” the announcement said. “The helmet laboratory testing involved 34 helmet models—a survey of helmets used by NFL teams indicates that at least 98 percent of players are wearing helmet models that have been tested in this study.”
Brady’s helmet style has remained noticeably rooted in the past, in a time when football helmets look a lot different than they did in the 1990s. A 2015 Newsday story examining concussions in Long Island high school football noted that Brady’s helmet scored a one star on a rating of one to five stars in safety. The 2015 laboratory testing chart listed the Riddell VSR-4 as a low-scoring helmet.
Previously, any helmet approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) was allowed for use in the NFL, but the league and the union opted to apply some stricter guidelines going forward.
The quarterback briefly experimented with another helmet style in the middle of his career, but went back to what felt the most comfortable. Brady now has OTAs, training camp, the preseason and the regular season to experiment with some newer models to find what might work in future years.
Brady has never been listed on an injury report with a concussion, but his wife, Gisele Bundchen, said last year that Brady did suffer a concussion in the 2016 season and has suffered them throughout the years.