Fake hurling helmets putting players at risk

Counterfeit helmets sold for use by hurling and camogie players in Ireland, claiming to be made by sportswear company Gola, could lead to serious injury.

That is the view of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which said in a joint statement that the helmets place style over safety and pose a risk of serious injury to the face, head, and eyes.

Safety inspections of the helmets – which are being sold mainly online and through social media – have shown they are poorly made with protruding screws and sharp edges. Gola, a UK manufacturer, does not make hurling helmets or license its brand to any other company for this purpose, so any hurling helmet carrying its logos and trademarks will be falsified.

“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,” said CCPC member Patrick Kenny.

“If you currently use one of these helmets, stop using it and buy a standard, CE-marked helmet from a reputable retailer instead,” he advised.

Investigations suggest that the Gola branding has been added to batches of substandard, retro-styled helmets which do not meet safety requirements. Even if they carry a CE mark, that is also likely to be counterfeit and the item will not meet health and safety standards.

The CCPC offers the following advice to help consumers avoid buying unsafe helmets:

Buy your helmet from a reputable retailer – not an unreliable online source – and make sure you ask these four safety questions first:

  • Is the helmet fully assembled? A safe helmet should have a faceguard attached at the point of manufacture. You should not need to attach a faceguard.
  • Are there any obvious dangers? Watch out for sharp edges, sharp points, rough surfaces, or protruding screws. Do not wear the helmet if you find any of these dangers.
  • Is there a CE mark on the helmet? If there is no CE mark, don’t buy it.
  • Are the labels and instructions clear and comprehensive? All hurling and camogie helmets should have instructions and information. These, as well as any labeling, should be clear and understandable.

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