Newberg-based Hydro Graphics recovered from the recession by creating eye-catching coatings for football helmets. But in August, the NFL ruled that players may only use one helmet during the season.
The league cited safety concerns for making the move, though it has not offered data to support the decision. If the league's concern is that alternate helmets don't offer sufficient break-in time for the player, Riddell, which supplies the majority of NFL helmets, said that would be easy to address.
In Newberg, though, Hydro Graphics owner Chris Thom is concerned, knowing the NCAA could weigh in with a ruling of its own, regardless of the popularity of spiffed-up helmets. Football helmet coatings – which can send the price of a basic $300 helmet up to $900 – accounted for 24 percent of Hydro Graphics' revenue in the most recent year.
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