Helmet labels straddle line of player safety, company liability

As efforts to increase player safety in contact sports such as football, lacrosse and hockey continue, the New York Times focused on the warning labels placed on helmets by manufacturers. Warning labels can be found on countless other consumer products, but parents and athletes who purchase a helmet for his or her sport can be confronted with sometimes alarmist admonitions about worst-case scenarios.

But according to helmet makers, these cautions walk a fine line between providing needed information to consumers and protecting the companies themselves from any potential lawsuits.

With more attention being given to head injuries and ways to prevent them, the helmet warning labels have become more visible. In recent years, the messages have begun appearing on the helmet boxes and manufacturer websites -- as well as the helmets themselves. While the companies say they have the consumer's best interests at heart, not everyone is equally convinced.

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