Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Helmets don't prevent concussions - new study

Fooball helmets don't protect - new study - LA Times
Here's a novel idea, given that American parents send almost 4 million of their children out to play tackle football every year, despite mounting concerns about youth concussions: Maybe the helmets their kids wear should be tested and ranked on how well they prevent concussion.
A study to be presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology attempts to do exactly that, comparing 10 of the most widely used football helmets in drop tests designed to measure the kinds of forces that are most likely to result in concussion.
The latest research finds that football helmets, which have been designed largely to prevent skull fractures and brain contusions, aren't all that effective against concussion, which happens when the brain bounces and twists around inside the skull.
"All of them were terrible," said Dr. Francis X. Conidi, who is to present the new research before the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting April 26-May 3. Conidi, a Florida neurologist who is vice chair of the American Academy of Neurology's sports neurology section, says the helmets' poor showing underscores the importance of emphasizing safety in football culture: Coaches should be teaching football players tackling techniques that limit concussion risk; they should encourage younger football players to follow the example of older ones and strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles; and  officials at all levels of play should be enforcing rules against head-first contact, Conidi said.


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