New Shock Reducing Foorball Helmet May Prevent Concussions
A front page story in today's New York Times, Far From Grandpa's Leather, Helmet Absorbs Shock a New Way reports on a promising new technology to protect football players from concussions.
A newly designed football helmet has a radically different method of absorbing shock and the forces transmitted to the brain which may be a primary cause of concussions in football players. Unlike traditional helmets which contain padding this new helmet is constructed with 18 thermoplastic shock absorbers which contain air. These shock absorbers can protect the brain from a wide range of outside forces and also provide support to the head to prevent sudden movement within the helmet. It is this movement of the head which causes damage to the brain as it strikes the interior sharp edges of the skull.
"Football helmets present the technological challenge of protecting against all manner of blows to the head and also doing so thousands of times. (Bicycle helmets, by contrast, are designed to withstand just one major, accidental impact.) Optimally, a helmet’s interior must be forgiving enough to cushion against a routine impact while also sturdy enough to withstand a potentially lethal one — each level of force requires a different response from the material."
One leading concussion expert, Dr. Robert Cantu, according to the Times story called the new helmet "the greatest advance in helmet design in at least 30 years"
Let's hope that further testing confirms the superiority of these newly designed helmets and that schools and teams find the extra money in their sports budgets to switch to these new helmets. Without question, the cost of a new helmet is considerably less the than life time costs associated with concussions and the post concussion syndrome.
You can read the full Times story by clicking here.