GAA issue warning about dangerous fake helmets
Hurling and camogie players have been warned of the dangers of wearing poor quality counterfeit helmets found to have protruding screws and sharp edges.
The warning comes from both the GAA and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPA) who are urging players not to use dangerous counterfeit ‘Gola’ branded helmets.
The organisations say use of the helmets puts players at serious risk injury to their face, head, and eyes.
Often sold via online marketplaces and social media, and generally purchased for style reasons, the helmets do not meet basic PPE standards and will not protect the wearer from injury, say the GAA and CCPA.
The sporting equipment brand Gola does not make helmets and does not licence the Gola brand to any other company to make helmets; however, counterfeit ‘Gola’ branding has been added to batches of substandard, retro-styled helmets which do not meet safety requirements.
CCPC member Patrick Kenny said: “Do not purchase one of these helmets for yourself or anyone else this Christmas. Our product safety officers are working to remove these dangerous helmets from the Irish market.
“If you currently use one of these helmets, stop using it and buy a standard, CE-marked helmet from a reputable retailer instead,” he added.
As the ‘Gola’ brand added to the helmets is counterfeit, it is highly likely that any CE mark on the helmets is also counterfeit. Hurling and camogie helmets must have a CE mark to show that the helmet meets the required health and safety standards.
The counterfeit helmets are also manufactured without faceguards. In order to meet health and safety standards, faceguards must be added at the point of manufacture and not afterwards.
Chairperson of the Gaelic Games Helmet Work Group, Jim Bolger, said: “Purchasing and using a compliant helmet system which meets the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) standard, IS:355, is of the utmost importance in terms of ensuring player safety and welfare in hurling and camogie at all levels.”
He continued: “It is worth noting that if a helmet system is purchased when incomplete, i.e. without a compatible faceguard, it cannot be considered an item of PPE.
“In particular, we are concerned about juvenile players using these helmets and encourage parents and players to only buy helmets from reputable sources.”
The GAA and the CCPA advise players to always buy their helmet from a reputable retailer, not an unreliable online source.
Consumers should ask if the helmet is fully assembled, watch out for obvious dangers like sharp edges or points or protruding screws, check for a CE mark, and look for clear and easily understood labels and instructions.
To download the consumer guidance on helmet safety for full details of the safety risks of wearing a faulty helmet, as well as information on what to do next if you suspect you have purchased an unsafe helmet, visit learning.gaa.ie/mouthguardshurlinghelmets.