Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type



Exercise Science

Director of Thesis

Dr. Susan W. Yeargin, Ph.D., ATC

First Reader

Courtney Meyer, MS, ATC

Second Reader

Courtney Meyer, MS, ATC


Although football helmets can help to significantly reduce the risk of concussion for athletes, not all helmets provide an equal level of protection.1 The purpose of this research was to determine the most cost-effective football helmet that high school programs can provide their student athletes, and to explore potential purchasing strategies for high schools to utilize. Through a cost-effectiveness budget analysis, we first derived an equation to calculate helmet cost-effectiveness, using data collected from the Virginia Tech Helmet Laboratory2 as well as the National Football League Players Association.3 We then created ideal budgets for high schools to utilize in purchasing the helmets. Finally, we compared each ideal budget to the actual budgets of 6 public high schools of various socio-economic status schools in Orange County, California4, noting any disparities. Through our research, we found that the Schutt Vengeance Z10 is the overall most cost-effective football helmet, and the Riddell Speedflex is the most cost-effective helmet that is also recommended by the NFLPA.3. Our ideal budget used to purchase the Schutt Vengeance Z10 averaged $5,538.75 per year over the 4 year plan, and averaged $9,538.55 per year when purchasing the Riddell Speedflex. Additionally, we found that the lower SES schools in Orange County were less able to afford our ideal budgets compared to the higher SES schools, mainly due to significantly less funding from their booster clubs.4 While we were able to determine cost-effective helmets that high schools can provide their players with, the disparity in affordability presents a significant issue, where lower SES schools may not be able to utilize our budgets.

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