James Harrison, the oft criticized football player – rather punisher – of the Pittsburgh Steelers has now found time to make comments regarding safety of players brains. I will admit that this tact is much more productive than blaming “soft” rules for his repeat offenses of the illegal hitting rules. I suppose he would be a very good “test subject” for a new product that may provide protection of the head;
After enduring what he estimated as “double digit” bouts with concussion-like symptoms throughout his decade-long career, Harrison began using a special layer of padding inside his helmet last fall and is pleased with the results.
“I haven’t seen any spots or had any blackouts,” Harrison said Tuesday.
Although the article and the statements from Harrison seem more like an advertisement, it is clear and important to remember that the CRT technology does not and will not prevent concussions. Interior padding is something helmet companies have been working on over the years; it is the place on this piece of equipment where changes can have an impact – rather reducing impact.
Before everyone runs out to get the CRT technology, which in my opinion has real and definite helpful qualities for its other uses, we need to remember that concussions are mainly a result of acceleration, deceleration, rotational and angular forces. Linear forces, where CRT is proven to attenuate, is low on the list of concussion culprits. There is no way this product can attenuate the most troublesome forces that create concussions.
This creates a problem, even if the CRT technology seems to help in-game situations this will create a false sense of security. Will players that seem and believe they are safer with this product play more recklessly? Will players now use their head more (when they should still be using it less)?
Its great there are people like Mr. Vito working on finding solutions, but we must understand the concussion first and the mechanisms that create the concussion before we can all get worked up about resolutions. We all must still respect the injury and grasp that there is nothing out there, as of now, that will attenuate concussions as we know them.
Harrison has a quote at the end that makes some actual sense;
“The league is mandating next year that we wear thigh and knee pads,” Harrison said. “I don’t know how many people’s career has been ended on a thigh or knee bruise. We have guys now that are 30, 31 years old that are having to quit the game because they have severe headaches … I think you should be focusing more on (the helmet) than knee or thigh pads.”
Side note in the article: Is “concussion-like” the same as “pregnant-like”? No, they are concussion symptoms…