When Did Football Helmets Become Mandatory?

The sport of American football dates to the 1860s, but helmets did not become mandatory until 1939 for college players and 1943 for National Football League (NFL) players. In the early days of American football, the sport was even more violent and dangerous than the modern version. It was estimated there were 18 football fatalities in 1904, the majority of which were high school students. The fatality and injury rate led to an interest in safety precautions. Football helmets originally were made of soft leather, but they gradually began to be made of harder leather with more padding to offer head protection throughout the 1920s and 1930s. By 1949, stronger plastic helmets were the norm.

More about the history of football:

  • The first team logo painted on a football helmet was the Los Angeles Rams' horns, which were introduced in 1948.
  • US President Theodore Roosevelt was a major advocate of football reform and helped get changes — such as permitting the forward pass — added to the official rules.
  • The first professional football player was William "Pudge" Heffelfinger, who was paid $500 US Dollars (USD) to play in an 1892 game.
More Info: nfl.com/history

Discussion Comments


@Chmander - It's a pretty good movie, but I agree with you. It's pretty hokey, looking back at it. In fact, have you noticed that a lot of sports movies followed in its footsteps, and copied the same formula it used? A "savior" coach struggles to bring a rag tag team together, through hardships, trials, and tribulations. It's definitely not perfect, but it's a feel good movie that everyone should watch.


Speaking of football, does anyone remember the movie called Remember the Titans? I haven't seen it in quite a while, but what I do remember is that it's a movie about a football team, and the hardships that they face. It was a pretty good movie for it's time, but looking back at it, it's pretty cheesy, and it seems to follow the typical Hollywood formula.


In my opinion, going into a football game without a helmet is like going into a war zone without any preparation. Overall, football can be a very fun and engaging sport, but if you're not careful, you can also end up being injured gravely. I know many friends from my high school who used to play in football. Eventually, they quit, because it was too dangerous for them. Obviously, we shouldn't let fear control our goals in life, but we should still take precaution regardless.

Post your comments
Forgot password?