This weekend the equestrian world observed International Helmet Awareness Day, highlighting a safety issue that has increasingly come onto the polo world’s radar: head injuries. After serious riding accidents in several disciplines made headlines in 2010, the grassroots organization Riders4Helmets established the day as an annual reminder of the importance of riding with a safety-certified helmet. They now work with 16 helmet brands and equestrian retailers in 14 countries to help spread awareness, and the polo community has come onboard.
The three major national associations—the Asociación Argentina de Polo (AAP), the United States Polo Association (USPA) and the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA)—all require helmets while riding at recognized tournaments. The USPA, as of January 1, 2017, began requiring all members of a polo organization to wear helmets while mounted during a USPA event.
The HPA requires helmets to be worn during play in an HPA tournament and is even taking it a step further. As of January 1, 2018 the HPA will require all helmets to meet the standard PAS015:2011 with CE mark (type approval must be performed by a UK-headquartered Noted Body for Personal Protective Equipment), SNELL E2001, VG1 01.040 2014-12, or UTAC/CRITT 04/2015. Four prominent manufacturers currently produce helmets that meet these standards: Charles Owen (the Palermo, the Polo Edition and the Young Rider Polo), GPA (Speed Air/X2), Armis (Armis), and Instinct Polo (TBC). Casablanca and La Martina are working to get helmets certified and launched within the next year.
For more information on the Riders4Helmets campaign, visit www.riders4helmets.com. Follow the campaign: www.facebook.com/riders4helmets,www.instagram.com/riders4helmets and www.twitter.com/riders4helmets.
Photo by Liz Lamont Images