‘We need better helmets’: UC lab works to prevent and treat head injuries

WKRC-TV (Cincinnati)

August 16, 2023

As school sports begin this season, some important reminders from researchers at the University of Cincinnati about preventing concussions.

It’s a lab bringing together some of the best minds in the nation to help us learn more about helmets and hits to the head.

What they are learning could be a real game changer.

So much so, that after years of studying student athletes ages 14 to 18 and replicating those hits, researchers inside this Human Injury Research and Regenerative Technologies lab or (HIRRT) at the University of Cincinnati Bioscience Center came to a conclusion.

“Every hit matters, every hit that a football player or soccer player takes matters, it adds up,” said UC human injury specialist Eric Nauman.

Dr. Tom Talavage agreed.

“By getting hit a lot, with even smaller blows, you can get to the same point as with that really huge blow which is why we make that there really isn’t a threshold for impact for a concussion, its this accumulation.”

The team here has spent hours Wresting all kinds of helmets to try and prevent the impact of these accumulated hits.

“We need better helmets,” said Nauman. “Don’t fall on the back of your head because right now, the helmets dot do a good job there.”

The team actually has a second lab where they are also learning more about what happens once tissue is injured in the brain-.

For those injuries that can’t be prevented, this team hopes one day to repair them.

“Our goal is not just to prevent the symptoms, our goal is to prevent that injury that produces the symptoms of a diagnosed concussion,” said Dr. Talavage.

One of the suggestions from this team is that if you are worried about your child playing sports, observe the coach ahead of time:

“Football, it’s supposed to be every play is a three or four second chess match not a brawl, and if your coach is of that mindset that this is a chess match, your child’s going to do a lot better,” said Nauman.

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