One of the objectives for Thunder Football is to institute policies and procedures that will protect our players, while at the same time teach the game of football to the youth of Garden City. It is for this reason that we maintain a Helmet Certification Program. All Thunder players must have their helmets checked and certified that they are appropriate for use in the upcoming football season.

Garden City Thunder Football is a volunteer-run program under the GCAA. We participate in the Nassau County Youth Football League (NCYFL), and our program is governed by the rules of the NCYFL. NCYFL rules state that all football helmets must be certified safe to wear every two years. For the Thunder program to comply with this rule, we have issued the following Thunder Football Helmet Requirements:

1. Thunder Football Directors recommend the Riddell Speed Icon and the Riddell Speed Flex.

2. Only white helmets with maroon face masks and maroon chinstraps are allowed.

4. All football helmets are inspected at the beginning of each season by Thunder Directors and/or coaches to ensure that only properly certified helmets are worn during the current season.

3. Only Football helmets that have an “Initial Season Date” of last year or later will be permitted during the current season. The “Initial Season Date” is a sticker located on the back of the helmet. For those players who purchased a new helmet last year – the helmet must clearly indicate the “Initial Season Date” of last year or later or it cannot be used in the current season.

* For the 2024 season players will need to have a helmet with Initial Season dates of 2023 or 2024.

5. There will be NO exceptions. If a player’s helmet does not meet the requirements, that player will not be allowed to participate in practice or games.

6. Riddell helmet fitting event: A Riddell representative will come to town for a scheduled helmet fitting and purchasing event sometime in the spring.

7. Returning players that already own a Riddell helmet: Thunder Directors or coaches will check your helmet to see that it is certified for play this season. No player will be permitted to play without a properly certified helmet.

We understand that the Helmet Certification Program may cause additional cost and inconvenience. Please understand that this is a safety matter - we must ensure that all players are fitted with a football helmet deemed safe for play according to league rules. Please contact one of the Thunder directors if you have questions regarding this policy.

Q: Why do I need to get my son a new football helmet every 2 years?

A: Most scholastic football programs recondition their helmets every 1-2 years. Because the Thunder is run entirely by volunteers, we do not maintain a helmet reconditioning program. Also, it is not practical to have volunteers who may lack proper training and experience to be responsible for fitting helmets on the players each year. Likewise, it is not practical to leave reconditioning up to the individual parents of 200+ players. Thus, we have instituted a practice requiring that they be replaced with a newly purchased helmet every 2 years. To make this easier, we have a representative from Riddell come in person each summer to Garden City to fit new Riddell helmets on the players at a discount to the retail price and repurchase old Riddell helmets for cash.


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