Since its first study was published in 2011, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab and its STAR evaluation system has established itself as the foremost independent leader in the football helmet ratings industry.

With assistance from the Virginia Tech football program, Stefan Duma and his team on the university's Blacksburg, Virginia, campus have developed a series of impact tests designed to evaluate a given helmet’s ability to reduce dangerous rotations of the head that can occur over the course of a football game. Through their research and testing, the lab has developed a trusted ratings system to assist and inform consumers in their pursuit of the safest helmets on the market.

The Virginia Tech Helmet Lab’s rating system operates on a five-star scale. Its “best available” helmet receives a five-star rating, a “very good” helmet gets four stars, and the ratings go all the way to zero-star helmets, which are listed as “not recommended” for use. According to the lab’s website, “helmets with more stars provide a reduction in concussion risk for these impacts compared to helmets with less stars.”

Wondering how the helmets your local high school uses stack up? Check out these ratings for helmets used by local football programs and teams across the country (Note: A lower score indicates better protection.):

Vicis Zero1

Price: $950

Score: 1.92

Rating: *****

Schutt F7

Price: $649

Score: 6.50

Rating: *****

Schutt Vengeance Z10

Price: $210

Score: 6.28

Rating: *****

Riddell SpeedFlex

Price: $409.99

Score: 4.49

Rating: *****

Schutt Air XP Pro

Price: $199.95

Score: 18.22

Rating: ****

Xenith X2E+

Price: $289

Score: 2.92

Rating: *****

Schutt Vengeance Pro

Price: $225

Score: 6.44

Rating: *****

Schutt Air XP Pro Q10

Price: $210

Score: 25.77

Rating: ***

Click here to search the full Virginia Tech Helmet Lab database

Eli Lederman

918-581-8386

Eli.Lederman@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @ByEliLederman