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Football helmet shields can protect against a kick in the face
Date:11/17/2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio Researchers have determined that the two most popular brands of football helmet faceshields can withstand a hit equivalent to a kick in the face and provide that protection without disrupting players' vision.

The eye specialists at Ohio State University used an air cannon to hurl baseballs at the plastic faceshields. The impact was designed to mimic the force of a kick to the face, considered the riskiest way to sustain an eye injury in football.

The shields maintained their structural integrity after baseballs were propelled at the faceshields at velocities of up to 218 feet per second, or nearly 150 miles per hour. Measures of optical quality also showed that the curved, plastic shields do not add any corrections or distortions to players' vision.

The faceshields' protective potential bolsters an argument favoring mandatory use of the shields for college-age football players and younger, said Gregory Good, professor of clinical optometry at Ohio State and a coauthor of the study. Collegiate programs currently do not mandate their use.

"I think this would be a good idea not only from a collegiate standpoint, but all the way down to peewee football, especially for players with good vision in only one eye," Good said. "Players in the pros can make their own decisions, but it would be helpful to have coaches and managers on board to convince kids in high school and younger kids especially to wear faceshields. At that age, kids typically don't have enough experience to make a decision about safety on their own."

The research is published in a recent issue of the journal Optometry.

The study tested the two most popular collegiate and professional football helmet faceshields by manufacturers Oakley, based in Foothills Ranch, Calif., and Nike, based in Beaverton, Oregon. The companies donated faceshields for use in the study. The average cost is $45 to $50 per shield.

The research
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Contact: Gregory Good
Good.3@osu.edu
614-292-5203
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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