Is That Visor Legal?
Is My Visor Legal?
Ah yes, the age-old question. Unfortunately, the answer is…. It depends. If you want a straightforward answer, it would be: Ask your coach. If you want to learn more, read on!
The rule is basically the same across all leagues (MS, HS, NCAA, NFL, CFL)- it states that visors are only allowed in game play if they are 100% clear unless you have a medical excuse that requires you to have tint to protect your eyes. There might be a catch though. Coaches and refs may not all interpret the rule the same because clear and colorless are different things in the world of optics (you know glasses and other things that protect your eyes).
Why do they care what visor I wear?
It's simple. If you play football you know that one of the first things medical staff looks for after a big hit is a concussion and they always look at your pupils first. That means they must be able to see your eyes through the visor. Sure, they could remove your helmet, but you’re also probably aware that the risk of neck or spinal cord injuries means that removing the helmet on the spot is not always a safe option. Essentially, it's for your safety.
What is Clear anyway?
I’m so glad you asked! When it comes to optics, the tint percentage is determined by the amount of light that is transmitted through the glass or plastic. You follow? An Oakley Smoke 20% for example, means that only 20% of light shone on that visor would make it through and 80% of the light is blocked. By this definition then, 100% clear simply means that 100% of light gets through.
For most people, the term clear probably makes you think no color- in optics land, the term to describe that would be colorless. So a visor could be clear AND colorless or it could be clear and colored. Confused yet?
Can you just tell me what visor to wear?
Here’s the long and short of it. If you want to make sure there is no question if you’re legal, then go with a 100% clear and colorless visor like this one from Nike or this one by UA then add the swag during practice or pregame.
If you have an eye condition, talk to your doctors and coaches to decide the safest option for you. There are plenty of choices when it comes to tinted visors.
Finally, if you want to walk on the wild side, check out S.H.O.C.’s clear but colored visors but be sure to ask your coach first!