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Head Protection / Helmets in High School Soccer


…from the State, regarding field players and keepers wearing protective headgear.  In short, the soft padded headgear worn field players that’s basically a head band is legal, and a full ‘helmet’ worn by keepers is legal so long as it has a chin strap to hold it securely on the keepers head.  See below from the state for details…



The NFHS prohibits the wearing of helmets by field players.  NF 4.2.1(h) . . . “Illegal equipment shall not be worn by any player. This applies to any equipment which, in the opinion of the referee, is dangerous or confusing.  Types of equipment which are illegal include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. helmets, hats, caps or visors.”

Field players may not wear a soft, padded device that covers the crown of the head.  The device pictured immediately below is illegal for a field player.  An earlier interpretation from the NFHS concerning these devices stated: “Helmets are illegal for field players as is indicated in NFHS Soccer Rule 4-2-1h.  Sweat bands may be worn on the head or wrist if made with soft material  4-2-3.  Soft padded headgear is permitted as indicated in 4.2.2 Situation A.  The soft padded headgear actually refers to a sweatband rather than a helmet where the front, side and back of the head rather than the top of the head are covered.  Thus, helmets similar to those acceptable for goalies as indicated in 4-2-1h, exception 1 are illegal for field players.”



The sole exception to the wearing of helmets is the goalkeeper’s head protector, authorized as EXCEPTION 1 to NF 4.2.1(h): “The goalkeeper may wear a head protector made of closed-cell, slow-recovery rubber or other similar material that stays soft in its final form.  This head protector shall not have a bill, or other protruding design, it shall not cover the face, other than the forehead, and shall be secured by a chin strap.”

The OHSAA Director of Soccer Officiating Development received rulings from the NFHS in July of 2015, concerning the above pictured devices and the interpretations set forth above are in consonance with those rulings.