Accidents are a part of life, a part of sport and a part of everything you do. Polo is a high risk unprecedented play always prone to accidents both minor and severe. Polo helmets were introduced way back and have been evolving in its safety insurance and protection with advancement in technology and a better understanding of the game and its consequences.
Polo is the high-risk, high-image and high-profile sport with an acceptance of high injury rates. 64% of polo injuries are classed as major in severity. Accidents are a part of life, a part of the sport and a part of everything you do. Well such accidents when taking place on the field while the game is into play, it can cost lives as well. Understanding the nature of the sports Polo, rider runs as much risk as the horses. Polo since time immemorial have seen players falling off their horses but every time what kept them safe is the helmets. Owing to the sincerity of the game and the drift, instantaneous speed and galloping horses, helmets play an important role throughout the game to keep the rider moving. A study in the sport showed that for every 100 hours in the saddle, there is a need for some kind of medical attention. Most of the times the player is able to ignore the hurt and continue with the play, but in minor cases when the injury is severe, they 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 the most prominent injuries in the polo, and thus the Indian polo association pays an important aspect towards the safety of the player by demanding that they must wear helmets. The HPA rulebook, for example, states in para 23b:
(i) Everyone, including grooms and stick holders, should wear protective headgear along with the chinstrap or harness correctly fastened when riding at a polo ground. It is the responsibility of an employer to ensure the employee does so.
(ii) Polo helmets must always be worn by the player during play.
To know what would be the perfect measurement for your helmet measure the circumference of your head, just two centimeters above your eyebrows and above your ears. Use tape to take the measurements in centimeters. Fasten it to the point it is snug, neither too loose nor too tight. Polo is undoubtedly the sport of the royals. The campestral sport often brings forth the injuries that can be severe. Thus, a measure to ensure the safety of the riders has been a concern throughout. Helmets have protected, more precisely have tried to protect the riders but have been unsuccessful in doing so. The helmets have progressed from being least protective to being average in protection, however, even after incessant attempts, fruitful results haven't protruded. The helmets, in the beginning, did not have a casing near the mouth covering only the head portion. The lesser surface area covered by them was not much benefit. Often the helmet was displaced at the time of fall, and the rider suffered injury.
2018 HELMET RULE CHANGE
The Hurlingham Polo Association changed the rule applied on polo helmets in 2018 that was applied on 1st January 2018. After years of lobbying around by safety conscious members, the HPA has adopted a new rule that requires the polo players to wear helmets manufactured to safety standards. As a policy, the HPA has adopted the same standards as the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). The certification of the helmet will have to be done by any one of the following: VG1 (an interim standard adopted until a replacement for EN1384 becomes available), PAS015 (Europe)o or Snell 2001.
Most other equestrian sports now require helmets produced to rigorous safety measures. The Casablanca and the la Martina helmet was to be launched soon where the Casablanca helmet will be known as NEU. The la Martina helmet was said to be tested towards the end of September. Employers have duties under health and safety law to assess risks in the workplace where employers and grooms are employed and their employers have legal obligations to ensure a safe and healthy environment for their players.
EDITION POLO HELMETS
Designed, made and tested in the UK, the helmets that were designed first to protect players from recurring severe injuries. These British made polo helmets in traditional design were covered in either cotton or leather. All edition polo helmets are EU-certified to PAS015:2011 and come with a four-point harness with them. Based on the Charles Owen fiberglass shell, the Edition helmets have a removable and machine washable liner, which can be purchased separately anytime. Nothing on the market looks this good and gives the wearer the same reassurance of protection but they did not help much to their dismay. Many polo games have seen players falling off their horses and facing innumerable injuries which leads to the pausing of the play. In short, edition helmets have not helped much. In IPA National Polo Championship (Open), Jindal Panthers/Garcha Lions vs Sona Polo in their Day 3 match witnessed Abhimanyu Pathak undergoing a severe injury because of the lack of helmet protection. During the game when Raul R Laplacette hit the ball with a backhand to defend himself, the mallets unintentionally stroke Abhimanyu Pathak agonizing him with his two teeth falling instantly. Abhimanyu Pathak had to leave the field immediately because of excruciating pain and could not play further. The player had to undergo 32 stitches to play the Finals match. Such types of injuries can be prevented if the helmet is designed in a way to protect not just the head but also the face, and the mouth. It would be complementary if the helmet can also protect the neck since mallets at times result in stiffing and stabbing.
Designed, made and tested in the UK, the helmets that were designed first to protect players from recurring severe injuries. These British made polo helmets in traditional design were covered in either cotton or leather. All edition polo helmets are EU-certified to PAS015:2011 and come with a four-point harness with them. Based on the Charles Owen fiberglass shell, the Edition helmets have a removable and machine washable liner, which can be purchased separately anytime. Nothing on the market looks this good and gives the wearer the same reassurance of protection but they did not help much to their dismay. Many polo games have seen players falling off their horses and facing innumerable injuries which leads to the pausing of the play. In short, edition helmets have not helped much. In IPA National Polo Championship (Open), Jindal Panthers/Garcha Lions vs Sona Polo in their Day 3 match witnessed Abhimanyu Pathak undergoing a severe injury because of the lack of helmet protection. During the game when Raul R Laplacette hit the ball with a backhand to defend himself, the mallet unintentionally stroke Abhimanyu Pathak agonizing him with his two teeth falling instantly. Abhimanyu Pathak had to leave the field immediately because of excruciating pain and could not play further. The player had to undergo 32 stitches to play the Finals match. Such types of injuries can be prevented if the helmet is designed in a way to protect not just the head but also the face, and the mouth. It would be complementary if the helmet can also protect the neck since mallet at times result in stiffing and stabbing.
ARMIS POLO HELMETS
The helmet kicks polo in the 21st century with a combination of style, performance and certified/kitemarked to PAS015 and certified to British standards. Helmets are usually low on style, comfort and low on protective padding. Modern technology has introduced helmets in Armis that are robust, lightweight and extremely comfortable to wear. The part of the helmet that does the work of protecting your head is the protective liner, that is fabricated with high-grade polystyrene, EPS (like microscopic bubble wrap) which is in return protected by a hard (carbon fiber) shell. On the recurrence of the injury, i.e. when you fall and land, the helmet 3 things:
Firstly the shell diffuses the impact over a large surface area. Then the liner minimizes bruising to the brain by increasing the length of the time it takes for the shock to meet your head and you to pause. The more the impact the more layers of bubbles will burst so it is basically the helmet liner that collapses, not your head. It is for this reason that if the helmet suffers a severe impact – even dropping onto a hard surface, it should be thrown away and a new one should be purchased. Obviously, It is easy to replace a helmet, but impossible to replace a head! In the meantime, the MIPS system engages in the Armis polo helmets. MIPS (Multi-Impact Protection System) is a patented technology that adds a low friction layer between the head and the helmet and is developed to add protection by reducing the rotational violence to the brain on angled impacts. The helmet uses EPS foam liner that absorbs energy being transferred to the brain. It has a double shell that has composite carbon fiber to reduce penetrations and removable padding with a magnetic clip that is auto fastening and can be used with one hand. Helmet standards today continue to evolve as a result of advancements in technology and developments in methods of testing together with an increased understanding of how riders fall off and the severe injuries that they sustain in accidents.
INSTINCT POLO HELMETS
With the advancement of technology, new designs and with the introduction of the better understanding of the polo players, its injuries and the prevention, born out of 30 years at the forefront of sports helmet manufacturing is the instinct polo helmet. The helmet has two carbon composite shells with an aluminum honeycomb core that provide maximum deceleration in a fall. The helmet is also known as the world’s first honeycomb ‘crumple zone’ equestrian helmet with world’s first detachable shock absorbing peak. The helmet is the world's first equestrian helmet with fully integrated fixings for titanium visor and temple guards with a 3 point harness with magnetic buckle and a rear adjuster. It also has Coolmax headbands that are removable and washable available in two adjustable skull sizes. The helmet is available in a wide range of colors as a complete helmet with lock peak or Argentine peak. Size adjustment is done by a dial wheel at the back of the helmet. The helmet has protective temple guards that protect the temples and the vulnerable areas behind the eyes, these lightweight guards are made in titanium and are available in Ti finish and mostly coated black.
The only player noticed wearing this helmet in Indian Polo Team is Naveen Jindal patron of Jindal Panthers and an Indian business tycoon, known for his handicap 0. The helmet is best among all the helmets for the protection it provides around the face and the mouth.
FALCON POLO HELMETS:
The uniquely designed helmets re-engineered for better protection with maximum absorption technology. The purpose of the helmet is to protect your head by decreasing the amount of impact energy reaching the scalp, skull, and brain when you fall. The falcon polo helmet is constructed in a way to manage inner protection through an outer shell that compensates the energy of the impacts. The outer shell is built for durability and the backbone of the helmet meets the standard demands and performs extremely well under real conditions. The helmet has unique impact absorption inner protection with the exclusive XRD technology that absorbs up to 90% of the most intense force hit after hit on the ground. The material offers the high-performance protection foam for repeated shock absorption for extreme applications. The helmet provides an optimum fit and a classic style, ensures a snug but never an oppressive fit. It also preserves the pleasingly graceful classic design.
The helmet is handcrafted with two different materials; carbon fiber and fiberglass, any thermoplastic composite is tough although the fiberglass is considered tougher because of its ability to flex farther without breaking. The falcon polo helmets have varied pieces enough for you to choose for yourself according to your size and preference.
CERTIFICATION OF POLO HELMETS
Unlike your presumption, most of the helmets don't carry certification, although all the safety products sold in Europe must carry the certification mark as evidence that they have been tested and exemplified 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 imply that a non-certified helmet does not offer sufficient protection, but the vast majority of non-certified helmets don't ensure. To offer maximum protection the polo helmets should satisfy the following standards, the traditional two-point polo chin strap of the typical helmets often fails to keep the helmet on your head during a fall. The fiberglass shell may not be strong enough to withstand a substantial blow and may break during the fall. The lining, if any is fitted, may not dissipate the impact of a fall, potentially leading to a concussion, which might result in lasting consequences.