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

ee's thrown penalty flag during a game in 1999. He missed several seasons after the injury.

A summary of National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data shows that about one-third of football-related eye injuries documented between 2002 and 2006 were caused by the football itself and almost one-fifth were from finger pokes. The data do not specify whether these injuries occurred during organized games or "street" play. Other data also show in 2000, U.S. emergency rooms treated an estimated 40,000 sports-related eye injuries.

And more than 10 years ago, the sports safety committees of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a report recommending that football helmets be equipped with a polycarbonate faceshield for face and eye protection. They were responding to a 1993 report by Prevent Blindness America indicating that football was the fifth-greatest contributor to sports-related eye injuries in patients younger than 25.

Good said that rather than trying to judge players' susceptibility to eye injuries, the researchers focused on outlining the potential benefits that faceshields would provide.

But they know there is more to the story. They are following up by surveying football and equipment managers at about 120 collegiate programs in the United States to gauge player use of and attitudes about helmet faceshields. The researchers also have exposed new faceshields to three hours of sunlight per day this autumn and will retest their impact resistance after a season's worth of exposure to see if the radiation affects the faceshields' durability.

"We noticed the older faceshields we used in a pilot study didn't hold up as well, and we believe it could be because of exposure to radiation, at least in part," Good said.

None of the researchers has any financial arrangement with the companies that donated study materials.


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

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