The design of football helmets can effect concussion risk, finds a new study by some of the nation’s top concussion researchers.
The study provides what the authors say is good clinical evidence that helmet design can lower the risk of concussion, not in a laboratory, but in games and practices, by showing that a helmet model introduced in 2000 provides better protection against concussion than an older helmet employing 20-year-old design technology.
In an effort to reduce contact above the shoulders and lessen the risk of injury in high school football, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee developed a definition for “targeting,” which will be penalized as illegal personal contact.
The definition of targeting and its related penalty were two of 10 rules changes approved by the rules committee at its January 24-26 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
As NASCAR began the 2014 season with the sport’s biggest race, the Daytona 500, one of the questions to ask is how many of these drivers will suffer a concussion during the course of the year, how many of them will have it properly diagnosed and fully recover before they get behind the wheel, and what will be the long-term effects of these brain injuries?
Sports-related brain injuries are a hot topic these days. There are the headline-grabbing reports of professional athletes like Barnaby whose careers were sidelined by concussion. There is the ever-growing list of retired football and hockey players who have been diagnosed post-mortem — often post-suicide — with the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), allegedly brought on by repetitive head trauma. And then there are the parents’-worst-nightmare stories, like that of Damon Janes, the 16-year-old high school running back from Brocton, N.Y., who lost consciousness after an apparent helmet-to-helmet collision during a game this past September and died in the hospital soon afterward.
A lawsuit stemming from the head-injury death of a Frostburg State University football player should be dismissed because his coaches did not know the athlete was bleeding or had suffered a concussion and could not have foreseen that he was endangering his life by participating in practice drills, lawyers say.
Should I let my kid play football? And if I do, at what age should he start?
These questions are being debated across the country with various opinions by different medical experts and researchers. The answers are significant to USA Football and the NFL, which financially supports USA Football and its Heads Up Football program.
Football participation across the United States has dropped five straight years. More than half a million fewer players are participating in football since 2007. USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck even says he thinks more youth players could transition from tackle to flag football.
Players using current football helmets aren’t adequately protected against hits to the side of the head, which can lead to sometimes-lethal concussions and brain swelling, researchers said.
Ten helmets tested by researchers reduced the likelihood of traumatic brain injury by an average of 20 percent compared with no helmet in a simulation using crash test dummies. The most effective helmet reduced the risk by only 30 percent, according to data released today.
The long-term effects of head trauma in the NFL, along with other sports, are just now beginning to be realized. This year, NASCAR has mandated baseline cognitive testing for its drivers — a move applauded by some (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and questioned by others (Brad Keselowski). The question to you: Is NASCAR opening a Pandora’s box? How will the sport enforce sitting a driver not cleared by doctors when championship and future sponsorship considerations are on the line? Can this objectively be accomplished?