Non-Sport Head Injuries Also Problem

I know we usually focus on the concussions and head injuries in sports, however head injuries, especially those that go unchecked can create very dire situations as well.

According to the Belleville News-Democrat (Illinois), a 42 year-old man shot and killed his wife before fleeing and taking his own life.

What makes this an interest to us:

It all may have started with a head injury from a car crash that led to a personality change in the man, police said.

If the police are saying that, this early in the investigation there may be something there.  The key point of this part of the story is the “personality changes” as it related to post head injury.  As we have seen with research into CTE, former high-profile athletes have also had similar anecdotes prior to their deaths (Andre Waters, Chris Benoit come to mind).

Sports can be our vehicle to take steps to stop this kind of stuff.

Dr. Peter Sedesse

Dr. Sedesse penned an article on, a “knowledge co-op” website, about the long-term consequences of head trauma.

At the current time, the medical community has no way to determine when, and if, symptoms will develop following a traumatic brain injury.  Many of the long-term and more serious symptoms only develop months or years after the injury.  Traumatic brain injury conditions can occur either from the direct damage of the accident, or can develop later on through the development of diseases that are commonly seen in brain injury victims.

As we have seen, effects of head trauma can debilitate if caution is not taken from the beginning.  More awareness is contributing to questions and information seeking, but the stigma of “getting your bell rung” is tough to change.  What people, and most importantly the youth, need to realize is that headaches, dizziness, and concentration issues after sustaining a head injury is NOT NORMAL.

Seeking professional medical attention for these symptoms can prevent long-term effects of this issue.

Kansas City Area Athlete Dies

Nathan Stiles of Spring Hill High School died Thursday night after a football game.  Jim Sullinger and Brad Cooper of the Kansas City Star reported on this tragic incident yesterday.  According to his father Nathan had a concussion during his homecoming game but did not note any significant hits during the game.

This could be the first direct football death nationwide this year, said Fred Mueller, director of the National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research at the University or North Carolina Chapel Hill.

CA Youth Football Coaches Doing the Right Thing

“If we have a kid that is not understanding the tackling techniques, I cut him,” Nance said. “I tell the parents the first meeting we have that if your kid keeps putting his head down or he isn’t getting it, I have to cut him. We have safety cuts here, and that’s a safety cut. I don’t care if he’s the best player. If he’s putting his head down, he’s a safety risk for himself and the other players.”

That quote is from Ted Nance of Oakmont High School in California.  Placer County in California is teaching its youth how to tackle, and they obviously take it seriously.  This is likely not the only place doing such a good job of setting examples, but Robbie Enos of the Gold Country News Service published a report on this in Granite Bay.

Making changes to the way players observe the game at the highest level, the NFL, is very difficult but the coaches in the story are doing their best to make “cultural” changes, one small step at a time.

“The guys who lead with their heads are doing it wrong,” Reyes said. “I don’t think you’ll ever find a coach who said that’s how to tackle. Your helmet is there to protect you. It is not a weapon, and if you use it like one, you won’t play.”

NFL Concussion Report Week 8

These players are listed to have; concussion, head or migraine injuries and are probable;

  • David Garrard, QB, JAX
  • Andre Fluellen, DL, DET
  • Husain Abdullah, DB, MIN
  • Max Hall, QB, ARI

These players are listed to have; concussion, head or migraine injuries and are questionable;

  • Jason Smith, OL, CAR^
  • Walter Thurmond, DB, SEA
  • Samson Satele, OL, OAK
  • Matt Shaughnessy, DL, OAK
  • Chris Johnson, DB, OAK
  • Joseph Addai, RB, IND**

These players are listed to have; concussion, head or migraine injuries and are doubtful or out;

  • Perrish Cox, DB, DEN
  • Zack Follett, LB, DET*

*Follett listed as “neck” but was exhibiting head trauma signs along with the neck pathology.

** Addai listed as “neck” but was exhibiting head trauma signs along with the neck pathology.

^ New listing making the number 65

WSYR Report on Concussions

This news piece by WSYR in Syracuse, New York examines the concussion issue.

Skaneateles football player Ben Epolitto was returning a kickoff when his concussion occurred. It was caused by a helmet-to-helmet hit with an opposing player. “I went black for a second. I was really dazed,” he said. “I realized after the game I had a throbbing headache.”

Epolitto didn’t report his injury, however, and continued to play. “I didn’t even know what I was doing,” he said.

Thanks for the heads up from Syracuse Hockey Mom’s Network.

If you allow the video to continue to roll you will see other pieces on concussions.

A side note, we had the privilege of having Dr. Brian Rieger out to our area in 2008 for a Concussion Discussion as a keynote speaker.  His information and trailblazing work in the state of New York should be called upon more often.

LA Times Readdresses Smaller Hits

Based on the Purdue Study and the new issue of Sports Illustrated, LA Time reporter Melissa Healy brings much-needed attention to this issue to a broader population.

The players sustaining those blows rarely satisfied the medical criteria for diagnosing a concussion. But the researchers found that as the season wore on, several players were suffering measurable declines in their working memory and in visual memory — both cognitive skills key to learning. And the ones who appeared most affected were not the ones who took the hardest  and most flagrant hits but the ones who took the greatest number of milder hits. Their research is expected to be published soon in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

As we previously commented this area of head trauma will need further research.  In the sport of football the equipment can have a big impact in helping decline this issue.  Visit your local news stands for the Sports Illustrated edition devoted to concussions.

Struggling with Academics

In an article published in the Daily Pennsylvanian author Calder Silcox explored the difficulties of returning to the daily grind of an Ivy League football player after his 5th concussion.  Colin Donnelly explains;

“Doing work was hard,” he said. “I would get headaches when I would focus, when I would read. Class was pretty much the same thing.”

Colin added that in the weeks after his concussion, he had trouble recalling what he’d just read or heard in class. At the advice of his doctors, he avoided school for an entire week, watching as the work piled up.

“My short term memory was just foggy until I recovered,” he said.

Concussion/head trauma recovery is all based upon giving the brain some much-needed rest.  Something as simple as reading, watching TV, or trying to concentrate on auditory stimulation can cause the brain to react negatively.

The impact of this issue is more prevalent with the youth, those that are still in school, trying to concentrate on work, social life and just being a kid.  Parents, teachers and mentors should be aware of this and seek out people who can help those understand the nature of this beast.

Futbol Concussions

Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated posted an article about concussions in soccer.  Did you know that soccer only trails football and hockey in number of concussions reported?

Football may be attracting the most attention for head injuries in sports these days, but fútbol has also suffered a rash of concussions that have derailed the careers of prominent U.S. players. According to Dr. Robert Cantu, a concussions expert at the Boston University School of Medicine, soccer provides the third-highest number of his patients among professional athletes, behind only football and ice hockey. But unlike those sports, soccer has two big differences: Its players don’t wear helmets, and the pro and international games allow only three substitutions per match with no chance to return, putting pressure on teams to make hasty decisions to keep injured players on the field.
The MLS has formed a Concussion Program Committee and it has 12 members and a chairman.  One of the members on the committee is Taylor Twellman (remember him) and his experiences with post-concussion syndrome.  The committee has yet to have written policies, but is working hard to create some direction for soccer.  FIFA does not have a policy and either does the Champion Leagues of Europe.  This would be a great opportunity to set a policy for the world to follow.

Military Under New Orders

Military doctors are diagnosing hundreds of concussions among combat troops because of an unprecedented order requiring them to leave the battlefield for 24 hours after being exposed to a blast.

Writes Gregg Zoroya of USAToday:

From July through September, more than 1,000 soldiers, Marines and other U.S. servicemembers were identified with concussions, more than twice the number diagnosed during the previous four months, Central Command says.

This has been a complete turn around from how the military was doing things even in June of this year.  The new guideline went into effect July under the direction of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen.

Under the new policy, troops caught within 165 feet of a blast (about half the length of a football field) must be pulled from the battlefield for at least 24 hours and examined for evidence of a concussion. The same goes for troops in a vehicle or building struck by a bomb.

Read the entire Article HERE

And the accompanying piece by Mr. Zoroya, about the recovery from head injury.


Even though we had scattered reports about a few (three) concussions last week, seven have been added to the list for this week, bringing the total to 64 from pre-season through Week 7, 56 occurring in the regular season.  There is also the questionable listing of Zack Follett as a neck injury.  On bye this week are the Eagles, Falcons and Ravens, who had questionable injuries/instances where the head was involved.

The Oakland Raider and Denver Bronco debacle (Bronco fan here) resulted in 4 listed concussions, with Oakland listing three and Denver one.  Also an interesting listing, is Detroit listing Andre Fluellen as concussion, even after a bye week. Continue reading

Rugby Article

The Associated Press ran an article about rugby and how it compares with football in terms of concussions.

Rugby players are taught to never use their head in making the tackle, and without a helmet to protect them, the logic is pretty clear. Any player leading with the head is almost certain to get hurt as badly as the person he’s trying to hit.

The injury rate in rugby varies, however the most recent study suggests concussions account for 19% of all head injuries reported.

A study done by the B.C. Injury Research in Canada says rugby injuries come at almost three times the rate as those in football and soccer. But another study performed by the Eastern Suburbs Sports Medicine Centre in Sydney and the Australian Rugby Union found that while head injuries were most common in the collection of games they studied — adding up to 25 percent of all injuries — three–quarters of those injuries were lacerations, while only 19 percent were concussions.

Meanwhile, both sports struggle to keep accurate concussion statistics.

Finally, rugby may have more of a problem of players failing to report concussion symptoms.

Last season, the NFL mandated that any player who gets a concussion should not return to action on the same day if he shows certain signs or symptoms. The International Rugby Board has a rule that calls for players to take a three–week break after being diagnosed with a concussion.

That three-week break may make some competitors more reluctant to report head injuries.  Obviously there needs to be a balance, and playing without a helmet may not be the answer either.

AP Article via (link not working for AP story).

MLB Concussions

With the World Series upon us, it is a good time to take a look back at the concussion issue as it relates to Major League Baseball.

The sport of baseball is not what we classify as a collision sport, even though there are some “train-wrecks” at home plate and accidents in the field.  We can reasonably expect the concussion rate to be much lower, and it is.  In this past season, there were only 10 concussions listed on the official MLB injury list.  If you take a 25-man roster and multiply that by the 3o teams, you get 750 total players (we know that teams will have more at times due to call-ups and other injuries).  The rate for concussion based on a 25-man roster is 1.3% and for the 40-man roster it is 0.8%, and as you can see that is well below being classified as a major problem.

However, these concussions that occur in baseball seem to last a lot longer.  Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins had his season basically cut in half this year due to a concussion.  Both Mike Matheny and Jason Larue were forced into retirement after multiple concussive episodes.  Some of their injuries came from something as innocuous as a foul tip off the mask.

Now MLB wants to possibly shorten the disabled list stint for a concussion.  Shouldn’t it be a longer stay?  Chris Getz, Jason Bay, Nate McClouth, and Justin Morneau all lasted longer than seven days.

The problem is not the stay but the identification and classification of the concussion.  I mention Chris Getz, who was concussed September 15 and never was officially placed on the DL for a concussion.  Could there be more concussions in MLB?  Absolutely.  Could the proposed concussion DL rules help identify these concussions?  Sure.

We will have to wait and see how teams and baseball handle this going forward.  Looking back, you may notice that this issue was possibly overlooked.

Official MLB DL listings for Concussions since 2001

(compiled by The Concussion Blog Editor & Lead Researcher Mike Lutz)

2001 Season

None reported.

2002 Season

6/4/02  SF Placed IF Ramon Martinez on the 15-day DL (concussion)

2003 Season

6/6/03  ARI Placed OF David Dellucci on the 15-day DL (concussion)

6/8/03  CHC Placed 1B Hee Seop Choi on 15-day DL (concussion)

6/28/03  FLA Placed RHP Kevin Olsen on the 15-day DL (concussion)

2004 Season

None reported.

2005 Season

4/12/05  MIN Placed 1B Justin Morneau on the 15-day DL (concussion)

7/15/05  CHC Placed OF Adam Greenberg on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/11/05  NYM Placed OF Mike Cameron on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/29/05  CLE Recalled RHP Kyle Denney from Triple-A Buffalo and placed him on 60-day DL (post-concussive symptoms)

2006 Season

6/26/06  SF Placed C Mike Matheny on the 15-day DL (concussion)

2007 Season

4/1/07  MIL Placed 3B Corey Koskie on the 15-day DL (post-concussion syndrome)

5/2/07  ATL Placed C Brayan Pena on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/11/07  COL Placed INF/OF Jeff Baker on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/11/07  SD Placed C Michael Barrett on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/14/07  CIN Placed C David Ross on the 15-day DL (concussion)

2008 Season

6/10/08  NYM Placed OF Ryan Church on the 15-day DL (post-concussion syndrome)

7/2/08  HOU Placed C Humberto Quintero on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/9/08  LAA Placed OF Reggie Willits on the 15-day DL (concussion)

2009 Season

4/10/09  SF Placed RHP Joe Martinez on the 15-day DL (concussion)

7/20/09  SD Placed 2B Edgar Gonzalez on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/8/09  CIN Placed 3B Scott Rolen on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/17/09  NYM Placed 3B David Wright on the 15-day DL (post-concussion symptoms)

8/19/09  LAD Placed RHP Hiroki Kuroda on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/24/09  CIN Placed C Ryan Hanigan on the 15-day DL (concussion)

2010 Season

4/24/10  LAA Placed C Bobby Wilson on the 15-day DL (concussion)

4/25/10  PIT Placed RHP Chris Jakubauskas on the 15-day DL (head contusion and concussion)

6/12/10  ATL Placed CF Nate McLouth on the 15-DL (concussion-like symptoms)

6/22/10  PHI placed C Carlos Ruiz on the 15-day DL (concussion)

7/16/10  MIN placed 1B Justin Morneau on the 15-day DL (concussion)

7/22/10  PIT Placed C Ryan Doumit on the 15-day D (concussion)

7/25/10  SF Placed LF Eugenio Velez on the 15-day DL (head contusion and concussion)

7/30/10  NYM Placed LF Jason Bay on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/6/10  MIL Placed CF Carlos Gomez on the 15-day DL (concussion)

8/13/10  STL Placed C Jason LaRue on the 15-day DL (concussion)

SEC Beats NFL to Punch

The South Eastern Conference today suspended a player from one of its conference teams for a flagrant helmet-to-head hit.  Chris Hughes, a Mississippi State line backer was suspended for one game after a video review of the game by the conference.  The play itself was NOT flagged during live action. 

“Now I have to pay the price for my actions,” Hughes said. “Our coaches teach us and warn us about those types of plays, and I just need to learn from this and make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.”

The NCAA nor the SEC ever made an official statement that they too would be cracking down on these types of hits, as the NFL had done last week.  A surprising move and a proactive one at that.  Good for the SEC, and for Hughes understanding his mistake.

AP Story

Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy

It’s not often that I come across a news article or research paper that stops me in my tracks. By that, most information has become known to me though my circle of “concussion friends” or leads that the public sends my way.

There are times when Alan Schwarz writes, I feel as though he is breaking news, which to me is exciting. But getting the back story on someone or something really stops me. To learn what people have done and gone through to dedicate themselves to a particular cause starts to paint a picture.

Yesterday Caleb Daniloff wrote an article for BU Today in the World, about the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. This is an article that all people, not just researchers or professionals, should take time to read. It’s about how the CSTE is going to make the sports we love safer and lives we live longer.

At the time of McKee’s discovery, Grimsley was the fifth former NFL player diagnosed with CTE. The untimely deaths of the others often followed years of strange behavior. “Iron Mike” Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, felled by a heart attack at 50, took to living in his truck and at train stations and tazing himself to relieve back pain. Steelers lineman Terry Long, 45, killed himself by drinking anti freeze. Philadelphia Eagles defender Andre Waters put a gun to his head at age 44. And 36-year-old Steelers lineman Justin Strzelczyk died in a high-speed police chase.

For years, the NFL downplayed the link between head blows on the field and brain damage later in life. The league’s medical advisor had this to say about Guskiewicz’s 2003 findings: “When I look at that study, I don’t believe it.”

The article is more than just finding information on CTE, and what its destructive behavior might be.

In early October 2009, as BU’s School of Medicine was gearing up to host a conference on athletes and concussions at Gillette Stadium, in Foxboro, Mass., home of the New England Patriots, the results of a long-touted study commissioned by the NFL had leaked to the media. The research showed the prevalence of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory-related diseases among retired players to be as much as 19 times higher than in the general U.S. male population. The league claimed the study was incomplete. Further findings, it said, would be needed. “They had a very bizarre reaction,” Nowinski says. “They paid for the study, yet they tried to distance themselves from it. But you understand their position. The guys who commissioned the study are probably not the same guys who had to react to it.”

Mailbag Now Open

This is an open call for your thoughts, questions and observations.

If you have questions or comments about concussions and would like them to be analyzed or commented on, you may send them in. Of importance to me and this blog would be real-life stories about concussions. Either as a professional, like an athletic trainer, or personal, how you or your family has dealt with concussions.

Be advised that upon sending in the emails we can reuse them in a fashion that will help with the awareness of concussions. If you do not want your name included on such posts, please indicate that in the email. Also you can send us tips if you like, however we most likely will not publish information unless it can be verified. Real stories will and can be used, as well as any pictures you want to send our way.

Thank You,

Dustin Fink

NHL Concussion Report 10/25 (updated)

This is the list of current players on the injured list for concussions or suspected head injuries;

  • Ondrej Pavelec, ATL
  • Marc Savard, BOS
  • Jason Pominville, BUF
  • Raitis Ivanans, CAL
  • Peter Mueller, COL
  • Adam Foote, COL^
  • Pierre-Marc Brouchard, MIN
  • Matthew Lombardi, NAS
  • Bryce Salvador, NJ
  • Ian Laperriere, PHI
  • Cam Jansen, STL
  • Keith Ballard, VAN
  • Drew Doughty, LAK^
  • Brian Little, ATL^
  • Antti Miettnen, MIN^

^ = New to list this week.

Also to note that the NHL continues to hide their injuries. Head injuries should not be hidden! Good to see Nashville change the report on Matthew Lombardi. This list is only compiled on this blog on Mondays. There is a possibility that a concussive episode would occur on a Monday night and not be reported next week because of return to play.

TOTAL = 21

One Week Does Not Make A Season

Week 7 of the NFL (though Sunday) was a dramatic shift from the previous week.  After Week 6 and the reported nine head injuries (or ten on some websites, including this one) the NFL sent a strong and swift message to the players; “stop going for the head.”  Heavy fines were imposed on three players for very questionable hits – James Harrison $75,000, Dunta Robinson $50,000, and Brandon Merriweather $50,000. The latter of the three was the most blatant of the bunch, while the others were unfortunate results of high impact collisions.

Was that message received?

After all, we have only possible head injuries from scattered sources of three players (Thomas Decloud, Jeremy Maclin, and Max Hall). The announcers of the games talked about the dangers of head injuries ad nauseum and the fodder on the web and TV is not there.

In the game of football, players are placed in positions to be hurt on almost every play, and shots to the head or body that could result in concussions are seemingly omnipresent. The cleanest of hits can result in head trauma, even without contact to the head/neck. To be honest, it’s amazing that the rate of concussions is not higher.

In the 24-hour news cycle and instant access to information that we all crave (guilty), we as the public are quick to make correlations with a limited sample size.  Add to that the ever-increasing awareness of concussions, and one would think that a week like this would mean that the league is doing yeoman’s work in this area.

Caution!!!  Concussions will continue to happen, maybe not in the bunches we saw Week 6, but they will be ever-present. The only hope is that teams and players are not driven to keep this injury quiet in order to protect others from fines and suspensions. Or worse, hide a concussion and its symptoms to be a “warrior” only to feel the crippling effects years down the road.

“Maybe” is the only answer I can give to the above question.

Football’s Direction

Patrick Hruby wrote a thought-provoking article for  In it he related the game of football with smoking and tobacco use.

Once upon a time in America, smoking was commonplace. Glamorous, even… lighting up sure as heck felt good, and that painful lesion in the back of your throat was nothing a spiffier, more sophisticated filter couldn’t fix.In short, smoking was a lot like football.

It has become evident that there will be a fine balance between the glorious destruction we as fans enjoy and the safety of the players, not only for the short-term, but long-term.

Football is brutal. It exacts a terrible physical toll, savaging current and former players alike, from Philadelphia ‘s DeSean Jackson to Hall of Famer John Mackey, a runaway fire truck of a tight end who now suffers from dementia and resides in an assisted-living facility. And fans know this. Players, too. Both groups have made their peace with the mayhem; for many, the mayhem is the draw.

Give yourself a few minutes and take a look at this article.

TCB Question…

Was thinking during my daily commute (always dangerous) and thought that maybe if I proposed this question on the blog, we could get some great comments/emails.

Here is the question:

If there are traumatic forces to the head/neck area can you have a neck injury WITHOUT a brain injury?

For years (as long as anyone can remember) we as athletic trainers have always been told that if you have a head injury, suspect a neck injury.  It may actually be the other way around, no?

Comment here or send email to and I will re-post with/without names…

Week 7 Free For All

This week will be the second installment of our game-day blogging.  I will be tuned into the NFL RedZone and have the computer working overtime to bring up to the minute information regarding concussions.  I truly hope this is the last update, but sadly I don’t think so.

If you see/hear of a concussion/head injury you can email me at, comment in this post, or tweet me @concussionblog.

Here is to hoping we don’t have much to report.


@Atlanta_Falcons: INJURY UPDATE: Falcons’ starting safety Thomas DeCoud woozy after big hit on C. Benson. He walked off without assistance. #atlcin10


At this point last week we were discussing about 4 concussions, and questionable hits…  Good to see that things are not nearly as busy…  Also a Concussion Alum, Riley Cooper caught his first career TD, congrats…


Jeremy Maclin goes out a bit unsteady after taking a knee to the back of the head (he has returned to the game)


A “chain-gang” member in the Super Dome (New Orleans) was blasted and hit the back of his head, is now being put on stretcher.  Reports have him losing consciousness. Continue reading

Quotes from the Concussed

Here are some quotes I found from NFL players that have been involved with concussions:

“I had no idea what a nickel was.”  -Kevin Kolb, in regards to the defensive term of “nickel”.(1)

“…And kind of forgetful with some things. Just forgetting the little things. It’s just about not being normal, not being yourself. You can tell you’re not all the way there.”  -Stewart Bradley(1)

“But as I kept playing, I just started to get more and more of a headache, and I was a little bit slow, and I went over to our trainers and just said, ‘It’s done,’ ”  -Chris Cooley(2)

“He plays to knock people out,wouldn’t you want a linebacker like that on your team? I mean, honestly, a guy that you know is going to play and try to knock people out — try to knock the key players out of the game?”  -Josh Cribbs talking about James Harrison(3).

“I was running down on kickoff and trying to two-gap the guy that was blocking me, I wasn’t really looking at him, I was looking at the ball carrier and focused on him and the next thing I know his helmet went down and my head was up and it caught me just right and snapped my head back.  It sent shock waves down both of my arms and I kind of dropped down.”  -Zack Follett(4)

“To be honest, none of them have been real serious concussions where I’ve been blacked out and can’t remember things, I’ve seen guys come stumbling off the field who can’t remember their own name. Nothing has been that bad.”  -Kevin Boss(5)

“I think something needs to be done. It’s getting kind of out of hand.”  -Kevin Boss(6)

“It’s part of the game… Until it’s you.”  -Mario Manningham(6)

“There was a day, it’s awful to say, when a guy stumbling off the field was a funny thing. There were a lot of things that had no place in the game.”  -Former NFL’er John Lynch(6)

“I thought Cribbs was asleep.  A hit like that geeks you up, especially when you find out the guy is not really hurt, he’s just sleeping. He’s knocked out but he’s going to be okay.”  -James Harrison(7)

“There was a little bit of dizziness,” he explained later. “It’s kind of hard to diagnose. There’s no machine on the sideline you can just hook up.”  -Rocky McIntosh

Sources; (1) Burlington County Times, (2) David Elfen at Fanhouse, (3)Free Press News Service, (4) Tim Twentyman of The Detroit News, (5) Mark Viera of NYT, (6) Judy Battista of NYT, (7) Tracee Hamilton of Washington Post, (8) Rick Maese of Washington Post

NOCSAE Changes?

Since the early 70’s football helmet standards have remained the same.  When NOCSAE (the helmet certifying group) began, the number one issue was skull fractures, so they set up standards to prevent these horrible injuries.  This was a very big and important step, but since the standards were implemented, testing for those standards have not changed.  Until now, perhaps, thanks to people like Alan Schwarz and those in the concussion community.

Mr. Schwarz ,who writes for the New York Times (have I mentioned how much I like this guy?) published yet another piece on concussions, this time the focus on the NOCASE possibly addressing the elephant in the room.  Helmets do not protect against concussions, yet they market to that effect.

Nocsae’s single testing standard, used by all levels of football from pee-wees to professionals, considers only the extraordinarily violent impacts that would otherwise fracture skulls. It has little to do with the complex forces believed to cause concussions, and has not been changed meaningfully since it was first published in 1973.

The Nocsae standard has been criticized by outside experts, and even some Nocsae officials, for being outdated.