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No Game for Boys to PlayThe History of Youth Football and the Origins of a Public Health Crisis$
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Kathleen Bachynski

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653709

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653709.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

A Clear Conscience

A Clear Conscience

Setting Helmet Standards and Legal Responsibility for Injuries, 1960s–1970s

(p.135) Chapter Seven A Clear Conscience
No Game for Boys to Play

Kathleen Bachynski

University of North Carolina Press

In the late 1960s, longstanding criticisms of the lack of football helmet standards became complementary to broader calls for product safety research and regulation. Several non-profit voluntary standards associations formed by engineers and scientists began devoting attention to protective football gear. Ultimately, however, a new organization funded by sporting goods manufacturers proved most influential in establishing football helmet standards. The industry’s influence was connected to changing legal principles that made it easier to sue manufacturers for harms caused by consumer products. The sporting goods industry sought to limit its liability by framing prevention of football injuries as the responsibility of individual players, parents, and coaches. The industry’s rush to develop and adopt helmet standards ironically occurred in the context of significant scientific uncertainty over how to effectively test helmets.

Keywords:   Football, Safety, Helmet standards, Liability, Manufacturers, Product safety, Responsibility, Sporting goods, Standards

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