The Commerce Committee held a hearing on sports equipment labeled as “anti-concussion” or concussion prevention technology. The issue is not that some products make the claim but there is no independent research to back up any of the claims. I believe that this is an important issue, one we have highlighted regarding mouthguards previously.
Here is the press release;
WASHINGTON, D.C.—At a Commerce Committee hearing today, Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller and Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) highlighted two important points about sports concussions that are often overlooked: that concussions are a serious problem even for young athletes; and that sports equipment is often marketed as “anti-concussion” without sufficient proof.
“We now understand that this is not an injury only NFL players can suffer. And it’s not just a football problem either,” Rockefeller said. “More than 10,000 high school girl soccer players sustain concussions each year. What’s even more troubling is that sports equipment manufacturers are exploiting our growing concerns about sports concussions to market so-called ‘anti-concussion’ products to athletes and their parents. The American public has a lot of legitimate questions about the risk of concussions in sports and they deserve honest answers.”
“Concussions used to be dismissed as simply ‘dings’ or ‘bell ringers’, but science has taught us that they are a form of traumatic brain injury that should be taken seriously. Today’s hearing allowed us to focus on the many risks associated with concussions and the steps we can take to raise awareness. It also proved that no sports equipment can prevent all concussions, despite any advertising claims to the contrary,” Udall said.
Key Highlights from Today’s Hearing:
- Experts report that Americans suffer millions of sports-related concussions each year and that a significant percentage of those suffering concussions are children and high school students participating in sports.
- According to a recent report published in the journal for the American Academy of Pediatrics, girls’ soccer ranked behind only boys’ football for the rates of concussion for students participating in high school sports.
- As experts have become more aware of the dangers of concussions for young athletes, states, amateur sports leagues, and health organizations, have taken steps to ensure parents, coaches, trainers, and the athletes themselves better understand both the symptoms of concussions and the precautions they can take.
As athletes’ and parents’ awareness of the concussion issue has increased, so have the number of products marketed to them as “anti-concussion” or “concussion reducing.” These products include helmets, mouth guards, headbands, and oral supplements. While some of these products are important pieces of safety equipment in their own right, especially helmets and mouth guards, doctors have questioned whether scientific evidence supports the claims made related to concussions.
Not only was there “experts” in the hearing, Steven Threet – former Arizona State University quarterback, testified about how technology did not make a difference in his four concussions;
“There is a misunderstanding about concussion prevention and treatment” among athletes and the public, Threet testified at the hearing. “If a helmet could guarantee protection from concussions, I would still be playing football.”
As always it is buyer beware, but remember that no product can prevent concussions at this point. And even though getting a concussion is a problem the major issue is how we manage the injury.