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In helmets we trust?

Part 2 of Pique's concussion feature



Page 6 of 7

The helmet standards may also require the helmets to be bigger because the standard calls for more of the head to be covered.

Does it make a safer helmet?

That's hard to tell.

Four years since the release of the date and there has yet to be a helmet manufacturer making CSA standard helmets.

Local helmet manufacturer Kevin Sansalone, founder of Sandbox Helmets — now selling the number one snowboard helmet in Canada despite being in the market for less than a decade ­­— weighs in on the CSA standard.

"I think bringing in new standards is always tough for a manufacturer because we have moulds and tools in place and that tooling is hundreds of thousands of dollars," he says.

"To enforce a new standard for Canada would mean a lot of retooling, which would be a huge financial burden and time constraint on all manufacturers."

As a helmet manufacturer, Sansalone takes the matter seriously. When people are out on the snow with his brand emblazoned over their heads, he knows that he's putting himself out there.

"We're protecting people's heads and brains," he says.

All Sandbox snow sports helmets meet either the European safety standards or the American safety standards.

"I've been in the testing labs," adds Sansalone. "I've seen the tests that they go through. I've been to the certification labs where they actually certify a helmet and they do some very rigourous tests."

Sandbox snow helmets, like almost all mass recreational helmets on the market, are made with an EPS liner.

"Polystyrene is cheap," explains Bishop. "It's cheap to manufacture. It's cheap to buy... What they (the helmet manufacturers) are telling the public when they say 'we can't meet the standard unless we have this big, bulky helmet which we don't think we can sell' is: we don't want to change the lining material. We want to keep using polystyrene and we want to make it thick enough so that it will withstand three impacts."

Sansalone is all for a multi-impact helmet. But it has to make sense in the marketplace.

If the Canadian standard is calling for bigger, potentially bulkier and potentially more expensive helmets, who is going to put them on their heads? That's the crux of the issue.

"How are we going to have a safe helmet that is going to protect our kids, or our skiers, or our participants, that they are going to want to wear and that is at a price point that they are going to want to buy?" he asks.

Discussion continues

Leighton says helmets are seen as "the magic pill" in terms of safety.

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