(FROM THE THUNDER FAQs)
Q: Why do I need to get my son a new football helmet every 2 years?
A: Most scholastic football programs recondition their helments every 1-2 years. Because the Thunder is run entirely by volunteers, we do not maintain a helmet reconditioning program. Also, it is not practical to have volunteers who may lack proper training and experience to be responsible to fit helmets on the players each year. Likewise, it is not practical to leave reconditioning up to the individual parents of 225+ players. Thus we have instituted our practice of tagging helmets and requiring that they be replaced with a newly purchased helmet every 2 years. To make this easier, we have a representative from Riddell come in person each summer to Garden City to fit new Riddell helmets on the players at a discount to the retail price and repurchase old Riddell helmets for cash. The representative usually comes multiple times and his arrival dates are posted on this site and by email. The Thunder program makes absolutely NO money off the use of Riddell or this replacement policy. It is done in the best interest of the safety of the players.
One of the objectives for Thunder Football is to institute policies and procedures that will protect our players, while at the same time teach the game of football to the youth of Garden City. It is for this reason that we maintain a Helmet Certification Program. All Thunder players must have their helmets checked and certified that they are appropriate for use in the upcoming football season.
Garden City Thunder Football is a program run by the GCAA. We participate in the Nassau County Youth Football League (NCYFL), and our program is governed by the rules of the NCYFL. NCYFL rules state that all football helmets must be certified safe to wear every two years. In order that the Thunder program complies with this rule, we have issued the following Thunder Football Helmet Requirements:
1. Only Riddell and Schutt football helmets will be permitted for use during the season.
2. Only Riddell or Schutt helmets that have a “born date” of last year or later will be permitted during the current season. The “born date” is a code located inside the helmet. For those players who purchased a new helmet last year – the helmet must clearly indicate the “born date” of last year or later or it cannot be used in the current season.
3. All football helmets are inspected at the beginning of each season by Thunder Directors and/or coaches and tagged with a date sticker to ensure that only properly certified helmets are worn during the current season.
4. There will be NO exceptions. If a player’s helmet does not meet the requirements, that player will not be allowed to participate in practice or games.
Schutt helmets: Can be fitted and purchased at Endzone Sports in Seaford, 3935 Merrick Road (516)409-2195; www.endzonesportsli.com.
Riddell helmets: Players wanting a Riddell helmet can be fitted by an authorized representative of Riddell, at the on-site visit from the Riddell representative during the summer before practice begins in August(dates announced on this website and by email). Riddell will accept cash, checks and credit cards and will repurchase old Riddell helments for cash.
Returning players that already own Riddell or Schutt helmets: Thunder Directors or coaches will check your helmet to see that it is certified for play this season. No player will be permitted to play without a proper certification date sticker.
We understand that the Helmet Certification Program may cause additional cost and inconvenience. Please understand that this is a safety matter - we must ensure that all players are fitted with a football helmet deemed safe for play according to league rules. Please contact one of the Thunder directors if you have questions regarding this policy.