I was dropped a line from a source back home (OK my dad) about reports recently on the news in Denver. Here is the LINK to the 9news story that prompted my father to send the info. I found the report very informative and brought forth many angles on the story of helmets.
Meanwhile I also was given information from other coaches and followers about other press-type people asking for helmet information in Missouri, Georgia and Louisiana to name a few.
Who is behind all of this information gathering, I have not had it confirmed, but from the people I have been in contact with, Virginia Tech keeps getting mentioned. I don’t know if this is because of the Star Rating System or if there is a PR campaign being driven by VT and the researchers. Regardless this seems interesting to me on many levels.
What you need to know is simple and is as follows (of course in my opinion):
- Helmets were never designed to prevent concussions
- Helmet fit is currently the key to proper protection
- Physics and anatomy/physiology currently limit helmets from providing concussion protection alone
- Rating or determining a helmets “concussion fitness” based on linear forces alone is inadequate
- Helmets change due to weather (temperature) and overall use over time
- Helmets ARE NOT WEAPONS they were created for defense of the skull and brain from catastrophic injury
- There are some older helmets that should not be in use – generally those over 15 years old – mainly due to padding and fit
- Although debated; there is no clear evidence that a 2-star rated helmet reduces concussion incidence over a 5-star
- Yearly reconditioning of the helmets should be a priority and serve to maintain the equipment
“Back to the lecture at hand,” I would like to know who is exactly sending out this information and what the end game is? If it is VT and the rating system, fine, although everyone should be fully aware that this system is clearly only been trialed and has yet to bear fruit in the “real world”. If it is helmet manufacturers trying to use this as “fear-mongering” to drive sales then this is dirty pool and needs to be stopped.
If the guise is education about concussions, then you are doing it wrong. Keeping the focus on the helmet is only once again muddying the water. The ol’ shell game, if you will. Helmets are designed for linear forces alone, if there was a way to abate concussions via a helmet wouldn’t you think the brightest researches in the world and the helmet companies would have designed it already and made BILLIONS on it? Don’t give me the “it takes time to create” mumbojumbo, because if the design were possible it would have happened years ago. Those in the industry are fore thinkers and see obstacles; they don’t react when we are talking MONEY!
You cannot stop the brain from moving inside the skull when you suddenly stop or unknowingly change directions (acceleration/deceleration and rotational forces). This is how concussions occur most of the time. Direct impact to the head ALONE rarely causes a simple (nothing simple about a concussion couldn’t find a good adjective) concussion. Direct impact to the head causes the much more severe traumatic brain injury. Burying our head in the sand about helmets only causes us to lose the path…
The injury of concussion is not the elephant in the room, rather it is the mismanagement of the injury that has led us to where we are.