How specialized football helmets are impacting concussions in the sport

ABC 3 WEAR-TV (Pensacola, FL)

September 13, 2021

According to brainline.org, about 3.8 million concussions occur in the U.S. per year during competitive sports.

The most common sport? Football. But as many as 50% of concussions go unreported.

As protective technology advances, are concussions actually becoming more preventable?

In order to break this down, we have to first look at the science. Concussions are brain injuries caused by a blow to the head.

So no matter how “protective” your helmet claims to be, “in short, no helmet can prevent a concussion.”

That’s according to kidshealth.org, who says some “special” sports helmets and other new products claim that they can protect you from concussions. But studies don’t back up these claims.”

Case in point — a 2019 study from the national high school sports-related injury surveillance study found the number of diagnosed concussions in high school sports increased by more than 15% from 2005-16.

We gathered data on numerous Northwest Florida high school football programs who spend anywhere from $5,000-$8,000 a year on “helmet reconditioning.”

But there’s no guarantee the helmets are “concussion-proof.”

“If you’re a 10-11-year-old kid and you’ve had two or three concussions, you need to take up golf,” says Mike Oliver, the executive director of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.

What’s the likelihood that a helmet will ever be able to fully prevent a concussion?”

“I don’t think the likelihood is very high,” Oliver says. “But it’s not because a lack of technology or performance. The problem is that there are no two concussions that are alike.”

Oliver says protective technology has come a long way even in just the last decade. But there are other factors at play.

Helmets aside, how much does technique play a factor in preventing concussions?

“A tremendous factor,” Oliver said. “A helmet is like third or fourth on the list of things you need to do to prevent a concussion.”

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