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Since 1980, all high school helmets must meet standards designed by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, a nonprofit formed in 1969 in response to concerns about helmet safety.

Older helmets rated "adequate" (2-stars) or "marginal" (1-star) by Virginia Tech can still meet NOCSAE standards.

With a properly fitted helmet, the top of the head is separated from the helmet shell by a uniform, functional, shock-absorbing support lining.

Daily evaluation of this support mechanism, including cheek and brow pads, for placement and resiliency should be taught to players.

Methacton High School topped the list with all but one of its 109 2017 helmets rated 5-stars.

Burlington City led South Jersey with 90 percent of its 51-helmet inventory at 5-stars.

"There's no rhyme or reason" to the lack of 5-star helmets at a particular school, Lynch said.

"We follow the process of recondition and replacing helmets.Jared Troyano learned in this season's opening game that no football helmet can guarantee protection against a concussion.The 17-year-old Pennsbury High School defensive lineman was wrapping up a tackle late in the first quarter on Friday night, Aug. "I was real dazed for a minute," said Troyano, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound junior from Fairless Hills, Bucks County.The 17-year-old Father Judge High linebacker was a junior when he moved in for a tackle in the third quarter of a game and collided helmet-to-helmet at full speed with a charging running back. I was seeing stars," said Maguire, who stands 6-1 and weighs 215 pounds and lives in Port Richmond.He said he was wearing a 5-star-rated Riddell Speed helmet.At the 28 schools in the local survey, more than 40 percent of the 2,330 helmets this season were rated 5-star, or "best," up from 25 percent two years ago.