Langway began his career before helmets were required and was the only Spiders player to do so due to a league grandfather provision. He did not wear a helmet until after he had been with the club for several seasons and the rule change occurred at a time when most other players were wearing them.
Langway is also one of two players to have their careers ended by injury while playing without a helmet (the other being John Longmire, who played eight games between 1990 and 1991). Langway was hit in the head by a Gary Pinnell punt in a match against Carlton on May 20, 1984 and spent three months recovering from that injury. He returned for the 1985 season but was never the same player again and retired at the end of that season, having played 70 matches over six seasons.
Langway has long been regarded as one of the great characters in Australian football and was a popular figure with the public during his playing days. He later worked as a commentator for ABC Radio Grandstand and Fox Sports. Langway died of cancer on January 4, 2017. He was 54 years old.
In 1989, the AFL introduced a rule requiring all players to wear protective headgear when taking part in activities on the field of play.
A batting helmet was one item of headgear Williams never wore. Baseball helmets were mandatory beginning in 1971. Current Red Sox catcher Bob Montgomery used a variety of protective gear at the time, but current players were grandfathered in. Monty ignored the helmet and became the last hitter to hit without one in 1979.
After Williams retired in 1981, he received more than $500,000 in awards from baseball's players union. At the time, they were given out as special exemptions from the league uniform code for players who could prove that their careers would be seriously impaired if they wore helmets.
In 1989, Major League Baseball approved a new, more protective helmet design. The Boston Red Sox were one of several teams that refused to adopt the new equipment. The team argued that the helmets were too big and heavy for hitters to control well and would also affect how they approached the plate. In 1992, the union revoked most of its exemptions from the uniform code so there were no more cases like Williams'. However, the Red Sox continued to refuse to use the helmets and were still allowed to argue their case before an arbitrator. In 1994, after many hearings and delays, the arbitrator ruled against the Red Sox. He said that while the helmets violated baseball's uniform code, the union had no right to revoke the exemptions for former players like Williams because his career would have been ended by the head injuries incurred while playing without a helmet.
Viv Richards, who retired from international cricket in 1991, was the last batsman at the highest (Test match) level to never wear a helmet. In fact, according to research by the Cricket Hall of Fame, between 1880 and 1990, only three other players have gone more than five years without wearing one: George Lohmann, William Caffyn, and Gus Macdonald.
Richards was a strong supporter of helmets and had worn one during his early days as a player, but later in his career decided that he could get away with not doing so because he was such a brilliant player that no bowler would think to attack him by hurling missiles at close range. He did, however, wear a cap when playing county cricket in England, which is now the norm for all cricketers there.
Helmets have been required in first-class cricket since 1877, but it wasn't until 1920 that the ICC passed a rule requiring their use in all Test matches. The decision was made after Frank Mitchell, who was killed during a trial run for the World Series Cricket tournament in January 1970, was found to have suffered "cerebral concussion" as a result of a blow to the head.
Gary Gaetti, the final Red Sox player to wear a non-earflapped batting helmet, retires. The flap-free era is over. Tim Raines comes out of retirement to play for the Marlins with a flapless helmet, reviving the flap-free era. The Marlins win the World Series.
In 1992, the New York Mets draft Jeff Kent out of college. He becomes one of the best second basemen in baseball and wins two MVP awards. In 2001, after eight seasons with the Mets, he joins the Chicago White Sox. While playing for the White Sox, Kent suffers multiple concussions. He says that he feels better without a helmet on but continues to wear one during games as a precaution. In 2006, while playing for the Texas Rangers, Kent has another concussion. This time he misses several months of action. When he returns, he tells reporters that he doesn't feel like himself and that he needs to find a new way to get into baseball equipment stores. The next season, when Kent plays for the Atlanta Braves, he says that he now knows how to take care of himself and that there's no need for him to wear a helmet anymore.
In 2008, Tony Clark wears a helmet while catching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Clark tells reporters that he doesn't want to be a "distraction" for his teammates and says that he'll probably start wearing a helmet more often if his bosses ask him to do so.
As of 2016, the England and Wales Cricket Board mandates all batters, wicketkeepers, and fielders closer than 8 yards from the wicket to wear helmets in first-class cricket. Even when facing medium-pace and spin bowling, this is required. In limited-overs matches, it is up to the individual player whether they wear a helmet.
In 2013, South Africa's coach Mickey Arthur called for all bowlers not only in Test cricket but also in one-day internationals to wear protective headgear. "We want to see more batsmen wearing helmets and more cricketers using their bodies as shields against dangerous balls," he said. "Cricket needs to lead the way on this issue."
In April 2014, India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the first current player to wear a helmet while batting after his dismissal in the first over of the day's play. He had been given out caught behind but after some debate with match referee David Boon, he took off his helmet after being informed by Boon that he could continue playing without one. When he returned to the crease after lunch, India's coaches had told him not to wear a helmet while he was at the crease so that he would feel more free to leave his footwork untracked.
Since then, several other players across all levels of the game have followed suit.
Orr was reportedly questioned about why he wore a protective cup but not a helmet. He said that because there were no rules against it, he felt free to do so.
In fact, at one point in his career, he played with no helmet at all. The NHL first began requiring players to wear helmets starting with the 1967-68 season. However, some players including Orr during this period of time did not wear helmets.
Helmets are required by law for anyone playing football at any level. In hockey, there is no requirement to wear a helmet except as an option for players who choose to play without one.
The lack of regulation led to many injuries over the years. In an effort to help prevent more damage to the head, the NHL made the change last season. Since then, there have been only two documented cases of players being injured while playing without a helmet.
Both incidents occurred last year when Matt Duchene and Ryan Miller of the Avalanche and Wild respectively were hit in the head with shots from behind the net. Both players remained in the game after taking hits like this one. However, a few hours later they was reported to be suffering from headaches and nausea.