New Helmets vs. Old Helmets

I’ve written about concussions here a couple times before. In September of 2010 I wrote “Concussions on the Rise” about the increasing number of concussions among our youth. Then, just a few months later I wrote “Concussions on Capital Hill” about our elected officials taking helmet companies to task regarding “misleading safety claims and deceptive practices” by helmet company Riddell.

Now, The Cleveland Clinic has released a study that compared old, leather football helmets to the modern helmets used in today’s game. The result? Modern football helmets are no more effective in protecting high school and college players from concussions than the leather helmets used nearly 100 years ago.

According to the study:

In their biomechanics lab, Cleveland Clinic researchers conducted impact tests, crashing helmets together at severities on par with 95 percent of on-field collisions (75 g-forces or less) in collegiate and high school football games.

While they aren’t advocating leather helmets, they are certainly questioning the benefits and claims of the modern-day helmet. They are finding that new helmets aren’t preventing concussions from happening like they should be. Why? Personally, I don’t believe it’s a “helmet issue.” I believe the body wearing the helmet is exponentially more dysfunctional in today’s game compared to the body wearing the helmet 100 years ago. An amazing helmet sitting on a dysfunctional body is still a recipe for disasterregardless of how “great” the helmet is. Sure, players are bigger, stronger, and faster, but apparently that’s irrelevant considering the staggering number of concussions present in today’s game.

The bottom line…focus on the position of the body, rather than the condition of the body. I know that’s not the first time you’ve heard me say that. Rest assured, it won’t be the last!

QUESTION: Have you suffered from a concussion? What have the long-term effects been?