Do you have...
...usable helmets still in good condition, but needing new parts, a makeover and recertification?
...shoulder pads showing wear and tear?
...laces on your favorite baseball glove that are frayed or split?
...broken straps, worn padding, faulty clasps, or cracked shields?
...limited budget prevent you from replacing badly-worn equipment with new gear?
...legal department or insurance company require you to provide your athletes with equipment certified as safe for their use?
We have a solution...
Service Sports will recondition your existing equipment to bring it up to recertification standards, saving you the cost of full replacement. We refurbish helmets, pads, gloves and other equipment for several sports.
We have become a throwaway society. When something begins to fade or fray, we throw it away and buy a new one. We consider its looks, but not its remaining functionality. Not only does this offend our desire not to waste, but to throw away items that still function well is just plain stupid. This throwaway and replace mentality is expensive and, in this era of shrinking budgets and decreased funding, is a luxury we can no longer afford. This is especially true for schools, whose budgets are already strained beyond capacity. Ways need to be found to save money while maintaining quality and safety. Reconditioning used equipment to bring it back to recertification condition provides one way to do this.
Any coach, trainer or person involved in sports knows what a team’s equipment looks like at the end of the season. The equipment is broken, beaten, worn and battered. And with increasing costs of new equipment and dwindling budgets, it’s not economically feasible to replace old and broken equipment with new equipment every year. From this dilemma, the concept of athletic equipment reconditioning was born. Awareness of the benefits of reconditioning, as well as the value-added services a quality reconditioner can provide, is a valuable tool in helping today’s coaches meet the increasing responsibilities – and risks – of their jobs.
What Reconditioning Does
Reconditioning is a term used in association with the replacement of football helmet and facemask parts, as well as the cleaning and sanitizing of football helmets. During reconditioning, equipment is inspected. Worn pads and unsafe parts are replaced. Scratched and faded surfaces are renewed.
Recertification is the process by which athletic equipment in general, and football helmets in particular, are given the status of approval per manufacturer's guidelines and the adopted NOCSAE® Standard. For a football helmet to be recertified, it must go through the reconditioning process by an Authorized Reconditioner, such as Service Sports.
The growing industry of athletic equipment reconditioning is much more sophisticated than just cleaning worn and dirty uniforms. Companies in this industry completely repair and sanitize equipment for virtually any sport – from helmets, to shoulder pads, to catcher’s gear, to field hockey sticks. The equipment is returned clean, safe and restored to like-new condition at a fraction of its replacement cost.
When it comes to reconditioning, value means more than cost savings; it also means safety. More than a cleaning operation, a quality reconditioner must meet national safety standards when repairing athletic equipment. For instance, the safety of a football player often depends on the condition of his protective gear, and it is essential that a player’s equipment be in top protective condition.
Service Sports has invested considerable resources to learn how to professionally refurbish used equipment so it looks and plays like new. The main benefit of this to our customers is cost savings, often up to 75% of a new item, safety, and quality assurance. Other benefits of reconditioning include a new look, cleaning and sanitizing, improved safety, new pads, clasps, and straps, all at a significant cost savings.
When considering the option of reconditioning, coaches often need to evaluate whether or not it is cost effective to repair equipment. As a rule of thumb, refurbishing cloth items usually costs about 15 percent of the cost of a new cloth item; reconditioned helmets cost about 30 percent of the cost of a new helmet; and refurbishing items like tackling dummies can cost up to 70 percent of the cost of a new dummy.
In order to protect against serious head injuries, it is recommended that each helmet at least be tested if not reconditioned annually at the end of each season. Electronic testing equipment approved by the National Operating Committee for Standards in Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) is used to test the protective qualities of the equipment. The committee was formed in 1969 to make competitive sports as injury-free as possible by developing standards for protective equipment.
For other athletic equipment such as shoulder pads, lacrosse helmets, etc., the standards are not quite as exhaustive, but thorough testing for safety and attention to straps, fasteners, and padding should be just as thorough. In general, equipment should be reconditioned when inspection reveals loose or worn straps, frayed or non-resistive pads, broken or stretched buckles, or a just plain ugly appearance.
What Can/Should Be Reconditioned
Depending on the type of equipment being reconditioned, different procedures and standards are used to ensure efficient and safe results. For example, currently there are no specific recertification standards for reconditioned baseball or softball helmets. However, they can still be safety-inspected. In high-quality pad reconditioning (hip, rib, thigh, etc.), all equipment is initially cleaned and sanitized. Manufacturers’ replacement parts are used where necessary, and all items are repaired with double stitching. The reconditioned item is then returned in new or better-than-new condition.
At A Glance:
- Helmets - Costs about $30 per helmet versus about $120 for a new one. Reconditioning includes cleaning, replacing, and recertifying. Recommended annually for product liability requirements. Includes repainting if needed.
- Shoulder Pads - Reconditioning includes cleaning, replacing straps and T hooks.
- Accessories - Servicing, repairing rips and broken pieces on blocking sleds and dummies
- Helmets - Cleaning for sanitary reasons. Replace missing fasteners, bent masks, frayed straps.
- Gloves - Restitch if necessary. Replace torn or frayed straps, clasps, laces, and fasteners.
- Shoulder Pads - Clean. Replace worn straps, t-hooks, & buckles
- Helmets - Clean & sanitize. Replace pads, broken clasps and straps. Refinish exterior surface
- Gloves - Re-lacing and re-oiling gloves. Replace torn webbing, padding.
- Catcher’s Equipment - Clean & sanitize. Replace straps and D Rings. Replace padding & protective gear as needed
What to Look For in a Reconditioner
When choosing a reconditioner, verify that all work is done by certified, insured personnel. Verify their certification. Look for experience and ask to see verifiable references. Call those references and find out how effective that reconditioner was. We suggest you ask the following questions of any reconditioner before any work begins:
- Do you use original replacement parts rather than generic parts? This is a meaningful point in ensuring the safety of the equipment. A coach can easily identify these parts by the manufacturer's label. If the name is missing, chances are the part is generic.
- Insist on a firm delivery date and make the reconditioner commit to it. Ask for a timeline of services, building in a few days for good measure.
- Ask for references. Though this is a reasonable request, few athletic programs ask for it. A few phone calls can eliminate potential headaches down the road.
- Inquire about the reconditioner's liability coverage. This may be awkward but it does provide a level of comfort. The school has to be assured that if an athlete is seriously injured while wearing a piece of reconditioned equipment, the reconditioner is properly covered. Product liability insurance is insurance that covers the cost of litigation and settlement that results from an injury caused by the failure of a product such as a football helmet. A product liability claim can be made against a manufacturer, retailer, school, coach or reconditioner. In fact, anyone who purchases a product (football helmet) for use by students and/or athletic teams is at risk. Today, it is essential to select a reconditioner who is adequately insured against product liability claims. If a student claims injury as a result of faulty equipment, the coach and school could be fully at risk if the reconditioner does not have adequate product liability insurance. If a reconditioner has minimal or limited insurance coverage, it may mean that the coach or school may be at risk for some or all of a liability claim. To protect against the risk of full or partial liability, insist on seeing a Certificate of Product Liability Insurance from your reconditioner. While it essential to make sure a reconditioner carries such insurance, it is equally important to assess the quality of the liability insurance policy. Your administrator can work with the school’s insurance representative to conduct a complete policy evaluation before utilizing the services of a reconditioner.
Quality, Service and Value: the Right Reconditioner
While value, safety standards and risk protection against liability are the key requirements for choosing the right reconditioner, it is important not to overlook other secondary details when selecting a reconditioner. These secondary characteristics help separate the average reconditioner from the excellent one.
- First, pay attention to the company’s service programs. Look for a company that responds quickly and offers fast turnaround services. Look for a company that offers a scheduling system for your pick-up and delivery, uses its own drivers and trucks and provides same-day service upon request.
- Choose a reconditioner with an automatic warranty replacement program. For example, if a helmet is rejected while it is still within the warranty period, will the reconditioner automatically replace the rejected-warranty helmet (regardless of brand or model) with a new one, at no charge to the school?
- Look for flexibility. A quality reconditioner will provide pricing and policy information, and market a variety of services, for example, storage and product labeling. These services all save coaches time and anxiety and allow them to do what they do best … coach.
- In short, look for a reconditioner with experience and a positive reputation... one who can upgrade the equipment side of a coach’s job, and one who can help the coach realize the value of reconditioning. A quality reconditioner protects the athlete, the coach and the school with a balanced policy that places a high priority on product integrity and player safety.