Given the nature of our sport, accidents do happen, and most of us will experience a fall at some point (a study showed that for every 100 hours in the saddle, we will need some kind of medical attention). Most of the time, we are able to get up and play on, but sometimes we wind up with a concussion or worse. Unfortunately, many polo helmets offer only limited protection and therefore a false sense of security.
Head injuries are one of the most common injuries in polo, and the polo associations around the world therefore demand that players must wear helmets. The HPA rule book, for example states in para 23b:
(i) Everyone, including grooms and stick holders, must wear protective headgear
with the chinstrap or harness correctly fastened when riding at a polo ground.
It is the responsibility of any employer to ensure that an employee whether
full or part time does so.
(ii) Polo helmets must always be worn during play.
From 01 January 2018, helmets must be type approved to the standard PAS015:2011 with CE mark (type approval must be performed by a UK headquartered Notified Body for Personal Protective Equipment), SNELL E2001, VG1 01.040 2014-12, or UTAC/CRITT 04/2015.
Most polo helmets carry no certification!
With the exception of a few helmets, most polo helmets carry no certification, although all safety products sold in Europe must carry the CE mark as evidence that they have been tested to a specification or standard that meets or exceeds the basic health and safety requirements of the Personal Protection Equipment Directive (89/686/EEC). This in itself, however, does not necessarily mean that a non-cerfied helmet does not offer sufficient protection, BUT the vast majority of non-certified helmets do not:
1) The traditional two-point polo chin strap often fails to keep the helmet on your head during a fall
2) The fiber glass shell may not be strong enough to withstand a substantial blow
3) The lining, if any is fitted, may not dissipate the impact of a fall, potentially leading to a concussion, which may have lasting consequences
Robin Spicer, a graduate from Loughborough University Design School and designer of the ARMIS polo helmet, has taken apart many typical polo helmets and his conclusions are not encouraging (click picture on the left to read more).
To offer sufficient protection, polo helmets should therefore address the three points above and be CE certified to one of the following standards (in rising order of test requirements):
- VG1 (interim standard adopted until a replacement for EN1384 becomes available)
- PAS015 (Europe)
- Snell 2001
Polo helmets available from Performance Polo
In the interest of performance and fun on the field, we have decided only to include polo helmets that:
1) offer adequate protection
2) are certified to one or more of the standards listed above, and
3) supplied by brands with established credentials.
Our suppliers of EU-certified polo helmets are (click the logos for more information):
NOTE: Popular polo helmet maker Falcon Polo has unfortunately decided not to offer a certified helmet for the European market. Should this change, then we would be more than happy to add Falcon to our catalog.