Helmet Minutia: What you need to know

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  Continue reading

Virginia Tech Responds to NOCSAE Press Release

Yesterday we posted the NOCSAE statement regarding the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings, as with most things in life this is only one side of the story.  NOCSAE is doing what they feel is in their best interest; likewise the rating system and its researchers – namely Stefan Duma – are doing what they thing is good work.

Fortunately for everyone out there this blog reaches far and wide and provides an outlet for openness and comments from all that choose to do so.  As I have stated many times I try to bring a balanced source for information regarding concussions.  With that being said, Stefan Duma reached out to us to clear up some of the information from NOCSAE, from his and the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings.  Below is the email I received from Stefan;  Continue reading

It may be Pee-Wee Football but there is nothing Pee-Wee about the hits

PBS will be airing a report today about the hits youth football players take while playing the sport that so many love;

Kids who play football make — and take — hits to the head just as hard as any high school, college or NFL player. That’s what the data show; it’s not partisan, it’s not political and it’s not trying to suck the fun out of recreational sports. Journalist Stone Phillips delved into never-before-conducted research by Virgina Tech that could have a long-lasting impact on how little kids suit up for football.

The report by Stone Phillips will be recounting the work done by the Wake Forest/Virgina Tech researchers, posted here in February.


Study Quantifies Hits By Position

Using the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) made by Simbex exclusive to the Riddell helmet researchers were able to quantify how often and who was sustaining the most force to the head throughout three seasons.  The study was performed at Brown University, Dartmouth College and Virginia Tech University; compiling information on 286,000+ hits on 314 players (910+ hits/player).  The aim of the study was to identify exposure rates and begin to find ways to limit such exposures if possible.

The lead author on the study was Joseph J. Crisco of Brown University, amongst other faculty positions.  This study is set to appear in The Journal of Biomechanics.

Here are some quotes from the Brown University public release; Continue reading

Other Side of the Coin in Va Tech Helmet Ratings UPDATE

We have highlighted the work done by Stefan Duma of Virgina Tech on the STAR rating system for helmets.  I have said that a proper system to help with informed buying is key for education and awareness purposes.  I continue to believe that Duma’s work is a good start as it relates to this, however there are some flaws.  The Concussion Blog was created to bring awareness on all fronts, whether I agree with it or not.  There are always opposing view points and we are willing to listen to all of them, the comment section is a prime example of this.

Staying with the goals of the blog I received an op-ed piece from Schutt about the STAR rating system, I feel it is both important to publish and reflect on the information.  Below is the full article along with contact information if you have questions; Continue reading

ESPN Looks At Virgina Tech Study

Gregg Easterbrook, writing for Page 2 on ESPN.com in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback wrote an article about the rating system for helmets that Dr. Stefan Duma presented in late spring.  As we covered it here; explaining that his data was in concert with our observational data on helmets.  In the Easterbrook article titled “Virginia Tech helmet research crucial“;

Now all that has changed. Researchers at Virginia Tech have produced the first brand-by-brand, model-by-model ranking for the likely concussion resistance of helmets. A star-rating system modeled on crash safety rankings for automobiles, the rankings clearly identify the best and worst helmets. Virginia Tech researchers give high marks to these helmets: the Riddell Speed, Riddell Revolution, Riddell Revolution IQ; the Schutt Ion 4D and Schutt DNA; and the Xenith X1. The Virginia Tech researchers give medium grades to the Schutt Air XP and Schutt Air Advantage. The Virginia Tech rankings warn players not to wear these helmets: the Riddell VSR4 and the Adams A2000.

Now the chilling part: the VSR4 — Virginia Tech’s second-lowest-rated helmet — was the most common helmet in the NFL Continue reading

TCB’s Research Backs Up Va Tech Information

Virginia Tech just released information about a “low rated” helmet on the field in the NFL, the Riddell VSR4;

Riddell’s VSR-4 helmet received just one star in a study of football helmets led by Virginia Tech professor of biomedical engineering Stefan Duma and released Tuesday. Another Riddell model — the Revolution Speed — was the only helmet that earned five stars, the top rating.

Five models — two made by Riddell, two by Schutt and one by Xenith — received four stars.

According to Riddell’s stats 40% of the players wore this helmet in 2010.  In our exclusive research we found on a random sample that 32.41% of players were wearing the helmet.  And that 71% of all helmets on the field were Riddell’s (75% reported by NFL and 77% reported by Riddell).

Our stats found that of all the counted concussions last year (with a helmet ID) 64% of all concussions were in Riddell helmets, 34% in Schutt and 2% in Xenith.  We further broke down the concussion based on actual models of the helmets and found a staggering number, Continue reading

Helmet Rating Database

The public has “Consumer Reports” on everyday goods and cars, an open rating system for goods, so why not helmets for football?  That was until now as researchers at Virginia Tech have used years of data on hits and helmets to create a database accessible by the public on football helmets;

Stefan Duma and his research assistants unveiled Wednesday a formula derived from years of data collected on the head impacts of football players, including players at Tech. The formula will be used to find the number of concussions that one player may experience in one season using a specific helmet.

The result will be a first-of-its-kind online searchable database of every new helmet being sold. Currently about 25 different adult-size helmets are manufactured by six companies.

This is not as acknowledged by Duma a “perfect” system, however it is a beginning, and we agree that why not start now.  Perhaps there will be a owness on the manufacturers with a rating system to be even more vigilant in creating a better product.

The database is expected to be ready by May, Continue reading