Athletic Equipment Testing
Evaluating Athletic Safety Equipment
The NTS facility in Chesapeake, Maryland utilizes the most sophisticated athletic equipment testing available. Our athletic equipment testing division is led by a team of engineers who operate in a state-of-the-art laboratory that is dedicated to testing personal safety equipment used by all athletes and recreation enthusiasts. We are Safety Equipment Institute (SEI)approved for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment — or NOCSAE — testing and offer additional testing to ASTM, DOT and other athletic equipment standards.
What Is Athletic Equipment Testing?
Athletic equipment and sporting goods manufacturers invest a great deal of time, effort and resources in producing the type of athletic gear everyone from young sports enthusiasts to high-level professional athletes can count on to safely participate in their respective sports. Of course, at almost every step of the manufacturing process — from early research and development through final inspections and certifications — independent, third-party testing plays a crucial role in evaluating and ensuring the quality of the athletic equipment produced.
The retail sporting goods industry in America alone is estimated to earn approximately $45 billion each year in revenue and has a predicted annual global market growth rate of 3.4 percent. Athletic equipment manufacturers are in a solid position to remain competitive for the foreseeable future as long as their products are deemed safe and effective. Fortunately for manufacturers, NTS has been in the business of supplying comprehensive — as well as specialized — engineering and testing services for well over five decades.
At NTS, we regularly conduct athletic equipment testing at our state-of-the-art Chesapeake facility, which is specialized in the advanced testing of all types of personal athletic equipment. In testing equipment for everything from its resistance to high-velocity ball impacts to its capacity to protect athletes against falls and other sports-related dangers, our ability to propose, prepare and run the necessary tests on a piece of athletic equipment are second to none. That’s why our testing expertise is trusted by businesses ranging from large sporting goods suppliers to small, specialized equipment manufacturers.
Some of the most common tests we perform for athletic equipment include but are not limited to:
- Flammability testing
- Materials testing
- Environmental testing
- Dynamics testing
- Impact testing
- Product reliability testing
- Product safety testing
- Compliance testing
- Acoustics testing
- Toxicity testing
- Expert testimony testing
What Types of Athletic Equipment Are Tested?
Just about any piece of athletic equipment can be subjected to certain types of materials, environmental and dynamics testing to help ensure its quality, reliability and performance once in use. Especially for materials providers, manufacturers and distributors that want to obtain the recommended and/or required athletic body and other organizational safety certifications, the following types of athletic equipment are routinely and rigorously tested:
- Helmets and other types of headgear — including mouthguards
- Face shields and protective eyewear
- Protective padding — from gloves to shin guards
- Balls and pucks
- Bats, racquets and sticks
- Track and field equipment
- Gymnastics equipment
- Playground equipment
What Standards Do They Have to Meet?
A catcher in baseball needs different athletic equipment than an ice hockey goalie does — and even different positions in football have their own unique protective padding requirements. So to help manufacturers meet the standards of the particular sport they produce athletic equipment for — and to ensure the players in a sport are sufficiently protected by high-quality gear — several athletic associations and other regulatory bodies set out standards that are often specific to a certain sport or activity.
Here are some of the most common athletic organizations that issue standards for equipment:
- National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE)
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
- International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)
- Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC)
- National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
Football Safety Equipment Testing
Football is by far the most popular sport in the United States and continues to grow internationally in places like Canada, Germany, and India. As player safety continues to become top priority in the sport, we are proud to assist manufacturers and product designers by offering high quality and repeatable testing at an affordable price.
Football helmet testing at NTS Chesapeake involve impacts using our twin-wire drop tower (NOCSAE) or helmet-to-helmet impact simulation on our Linear Impactor. With our Hybrid III Head and Neck assembly, we are able to test products for rotational forces and neck movement.
Football Equipment Testing Standards
- NOCSAE-ND019 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Football Players Hand Coverings
- NOCSAE ND002 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Football Helmets
- ASTM F429 – Shock-Attenuation Characteristics of Protective Headgear for Football
- ASTM F717 – Standard Specification for Football Helmets
- NOCSAE-ND087 – Standard Method of Impact Test and Performance Requirements for Football Face-guard
Baseball and Softball Safety Equipment Testing
With long seasons of playing game after game, from tee-ball to the pros, new equipment is being manufactured every day. Test your gear at NTS Chesapeake and we’ll have the test completed and the results to you in no time so you can keep your business rolling.
The testing of baseball helmets and softball helmets is done using one two methods. The first utilizes a drop tower, either a monorail or twin-wire machine. The second method simulates strikes from baseballs and softballs fired through our air cannon at speeds of up to 200 mph.
NTS is the sole source for all certification testing of Slow-Pitch Softball and Senior Youth Baseball Bats. As of April, 2020 the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) requires all manufacturers of the bats to include NTS on the official test certification stamp. Our specialized bat testing machine meets the needs of both composite and wooden bat manufacturers. NTS is able to test to the BBCOR (Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution) and wood bat durability to ASTM and NCAA specifications.
Baseball / Softball Equipment Testing Standards
- NOCSAE-ND022- Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/ Softball Helmets
- NOCSAE-ND024 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/ Softball Catcher’s Helmets with Face- guard
- NOCSAE-ND027- Specification for Newly Manufactured Youth Baseballs
- NOCSAE-ND029- Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/ Softball Fielder’s Headgear
- NOCSAE-ND072 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Baseball/ Softball Batter’s Helmet Mounted Face Protectors
Ice Hockey Safety Equipment Testing
Ice Hockey players go all out every time they hit the ice. If it’s your job to keep these hard-hitting players safe then give NTS Chesapeake a call. We would love to help you show how your products can keep players on the ice and performing at the highest level.
Hockey helmet tests have many moving parts and we are well equipped to handle them. Drop impacts, puck strikes, retention system testing, and verification of face-mask opening-size are all vital parts of our lab’s hockey testing capabilities.
Ice Hockey Equipment Testing Standards
- NOCSAE-ND030 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Hockey Helmets
- NOCSAE-ND035 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Hockey Face Protectors
Lacrosse Safety Equipment Testing
Often called “the fastest game on two feet”, lacrosse players must be able to move with ease yet be protected from both stick and body checks. When you create that revolutionary piece of equipment that will change the game forever remember to send it to NTS Chesapeake for all your testing needs.
Whether we are launching LAX balls at helmets, checking for helmet stability with our custom helmet roll-off rig, or providing confirmation that lacrosse-stick heads cannot penetrate through a face-mask, NTS Chesapeake is prepared to assist the lacrosse industry in providing the best quality products for players nationwide.
Lacrosse Equipment Testing Standards
- NOCSAE-ND041 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Lacrosse Helmets with Face-guards
- NOCSAE-ND044 – Laboratory Procedural Guide for Re-certifying Lacrosse Helmets
- NOCSAE-ND045 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Lacrosse Face Protectors
- NOCSAE-ND049- Specification for Newly Manufactured Lacrosse Balls
Soccer Safety Equipment Testing
Soccer is the largest athletic market in the world! When it comes to soccer safety equipment, if you aim to get a piece of the pie you’ll need consistent data to backup your products. With the best testing equipment in the industry at our disposal we are confident we can give you the results you need.
Soccer Equipment Testing Standards
- NOCSAE-ND090 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Soccer Shin Guards
Equestrian, Polo Safety Equipment Testing
Polo players require equipment to protect against various injuries including strikes from a ball or mallet, and even being unhorsed. If you are looking to validate your polo gear, NTS Chesapeake can offer the testing you need at a competitive price.
Drop impacts are the primary test method for equestrian helmets here at NTS, but other test criteria include helmet stability and resistance to polo ball impacts. Custom designed test methods are available.
Polo & Equestrian Sport Equipment Testing Standards
- NOCSAE-ND050 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Polo Helmets
- NOCSAE-ND055 – Specification for Newly Manufactured Helmet Mounted Polo Eye Protection
- ASTM F1163 – Standard Specification for Protective Headgear Used in Horse-Sports and Horseback Riding
Additional Athletic Equipment Testing
In addition to the sports above, we also offer the following:
- Bicycle or Roller Skating Helmets ASTM F1447; CPSC 16 CFR Part 1203
- Helmets Used for Recreational Snow Sports ASTM F2040
- Helmets Used in Short Track Speed Ice Skating ASTM F1849
- Helmets Used in Skateboarding and Trick Roller Skating ASTM F1492
- Standard Performance Specification for Newly Manufactured Field Hockey Headgear and Balls NOCSAE DOC (ND)61 and NOCSAE DOC (ND) 69