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Stronger Helmets Don’t Stop Concussions

Study Shows Stronger, More High-Tech Helmets Don’t Stop Concussions in Sports Players

helmetsCompanies like POC Ventures, which developed the Guardian Cap, are working hard to produce high-quality helmets that will protect athletes, especially student athletes, from concussion and traumatic brain injury. However, a new study suggests that, regardless of the helmet’s manufacturing and design, athletes will still suffer from concussions.

A new report presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando found that the brand or age of helmets worn by high school football players made no difference in their risk of concussion. They also saw no reduction in concussion risk when student athletes used mouth guards.

“Our preliminary findings suggest that neither any specific brand of football helmet nor custom mouth guards result in fewer concussions in kids who use them. Despite what manufacturers might claim, newer and more expensive equipment may not reduce concussion risk,” lead co-investigator Dr. Margaret Alison Brooks said in a news release.  “So is it worth the significant extra cost to families and schools?”

The study followed 1,332 adolescent athletes at 36 high schools throughout the 2012 football season. During the season, 115 players, or 8.5%, suffered a sport-related injury. The players wore one of three new helmets from Riddell, Schutt, or Xenith. When the sports related injury was a concussion, according to findings, there was no difference in which helmet the player wore.

Additionally, despite the fact that mouth guards are supposed to help prevent injury, the study found that custom-fitted mouth guards actually made concussions worse.

“Because the brain is floating freely inside the skull, I think most experts doubt whether it is possible to ever develop a helmet design that can prevent concussion,” Brooks wrote.

Approximately 40,000 sports related concussions occur in US High Schools each year.

Another study presented at the same conference said that, when student athletes are recovering from a concussion, it is very important to keep track of their symptoms, and not force them to return to the classroom, much less the football field, too early.

“We focus so much on getting these kids back onto the field that we don’t always think about the challenges associated with getting back into the classroom,” said Mark E. Halstead, MD, a Washington University sports medicine specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “In addition to physical rest, children recovering from a concussion also need cognitive rest. They can struggle in school and often have difficulty focusing and concentrating for several days or weeks.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Concussion Injury Cases

For many victims, a concussion or traumatic brain injury is not immediately noticeable. Concussion or traumatic brain injury symptoms may not appear for several days after the initial trauma. If you or a loved one suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident, the Strom Law Firm offers a free, no-cost consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today at 803.252.4800



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