Echoing “Concussion Prevention” Concerns

On Paul Anderson’s (@PaulD_Anderson) NFL Concussion Litigation blog a guest post went up the other day taking on the ever-growing concern of concussion “prevention” products.  The article was written by Andrew M. Belcher, MD (@the_jockdoc) and plainly explains it is buyer beware, as concussions are more than protection for the skull;

So then what we really need to prevent concussions are seatbelts and airbags for our brains inside of our skulls.  Here’s one more example to make it clear.  Shaken baby syndrome is caused by shaking a screaming baby back and forth to make them stop crying.  Even though their head never hits anything, the shaking leads to brain damage.  Would wearing a baby helmet have helped?  Of course not.  So how can a helmet possibly eliminate concussions in football.  It can’t.  Any protective device that claims to prevent concussions in a contact sport is false advertising and may be giving athletes a false sense of security.  How can athletes be well informed of the risks they are taking when the advertising by equipment manufacturers minimizes the risks?  The only way to prevent concussions is not to step on the field in the first place.

Very succinct and spot on, concussions are not mainly caused by linear forces to the skull; they are created by acceleration and deceleration of the brain INSIDE the skull.  Products that claim that they prevent concussions are borderline fraudulent, as there is NO study available that any current product can prevent concussions.  Sure, some can attenuate certain (see linear) forces to the head region, but other than a HANS device there is nothing in sport that limits the acceleration/deceleration or rotational properties of brain trauma.  In fact, increasing the weight of the head can increase mass, therefore by the laws of Physic’s, increase the overall force.

There is no guessing where I stand on the claims put forth by Continue reading

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