AP NewsBreak: FTC looking into helmet claims

The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission says his agency is

looking into possible action regarding safety claims made for new

and reconditioned football helmets used by high school and younger

players.

Chairman Jon Leibowitz made the revelation in a letter to New

Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall, who had requested an FTC

investigation into what he called “misleading safety claims and

deceptive practices.”

“We agree that these are serious concerns,” Leibowitz wrote,

“and will determine what action by this agency may be

appropriate.”

In the letter, obtained Friday by The Associated Press,

Leibowitz said that issues involving serious health concerns –

especially those for children and young adults – are a “high

priority for the commission.” He said the commission would look at

several factors “in determining whether to take enforcement or

other action.”

In his letter to the FTC this month, Udall referred to what he

called ”misleading safety claims used in online video

advertisements for helmets,” specifically citing Riddell and Schutt

Sports. He said he was ”troubled by misleading marketing claims by

Riddell, a leading helmet maker that supplies the official helmet

to the National Football League.”

He quotes Riddell’s website as saying that ”research shows a 31

percent reduction in the risk of concussion in players wearing a

Riddell Revolution football helmet when compared to traditional

helmets.”

”Yet there is actually very little scientific evidence to

support the claim,” Udall said, adding that the voluntary industry

standard for football helmets don’t specifically address concussion

prevention or reduction.

Riddell and Schutt Sports did not immediately respond to

requests for comment Friday.

At the time of Udall’s letter, Riddell called his allegations

“unfounded and unfair,” and Schutt Sports said the company never

claimed its helmets were “concussion reducing.”

Last fall, Udall asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to

investigate whether safety standards for football helmets are

adequate to protect young players from concussions.