Navigation Links
Good Football Helmet Fit Key to Preventing Brain Injuries
Date:2/17/2012

By Lisa Esposito
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- While football helmets don't prevent concussions, good helmet fit might help reduce loss of consciousness that can follow a blow to the head, a new study finds.

Expensive, high-tech helmets with air-lining systems aren't much better than vintage "leatherheads" for preventing concussions, the researchers said.

"The occurrence of concussion has been constant for the past 30 years: whether it was a leather helmet, whether it was a plastic helmet with web suspension, whether it was a plastic helmet with foam, or one with the new combination air cells and padding," said study author Dr. Joseph Torg, an adjunct professor of orthopedic surgery at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The researchers looked at data from the U.S. National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System from 2005 to 2009. Of the nearly 1,400 kids who sustained a concussion, 44 lost consciousness and 267 experienced amnesia.

Injury reports addressed helmet fit, type of inner-helmet padding and whether the helmet was new or reconditioned.

"Youngsters who had a concussion, if the helmet fit, they had 82 percent less chance of loss of consciousness," Torg said. "Helmets -- and advanced helmet technology -- do not prevent against concussions or the severe intracranial injuries of hemorrhage [bleeding] and brain swelling."

The researchers also analyzed previous studies comparing types of helmets.

Older, reconditioned helmets did as well as new helmets. But unpublished data suggested that helmets with air-bladder linings might be a risk factor, because they tend to leak and can deflate if not maintained properly.

Wendy Norris, head athletic trainer at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., said her responsibility for player health includes gear safety, and it's standard practice to inspect helmets before each game.

"We have helmets certified every year, and the day before games we always check them to make sure they're fitting well," said Norris, a certified athletic trainer. "It's an ongoing process. Sometimes I'll see somebody on the field and say, 'Hmm, I don't like how that looks.' And we adjust it."

Higher-tech helmets with improved air-cell systems cost about $250 to $350 each, Norris said. An advantage is that company representatives come out to the schools and educate trainers and coaches on proper fit.

Torg said the big question is, beyond helmets, what sets apart the four to six football players who suffer catastrophic injuries from concussion each year?

"Our thesis: there's a combination of factors that predisposes those small numbers of youngsters," he said. The factors are mostly unidentified, he added, noting they could be congenital, anatomic, or even related to air temperature.

"A kid who has a severe concussion has a number of predisposing factors, one of which is probably a helmet that doesn't fit," Torg said. "If you remove that component, then maybe the problem is solved."

Torg's study was presented at this month's annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine in San Francisco.

Athletic trainer Norris suggested some "easy landmarks that parents can look for," with helmet fit:

  • Players' eyes should be visible.
  • Helmet ear holes should line up with players' ears.
  • Cheek pads should sit next to the skin, without a big gap.
  • The back of the skull should be covered.
  • Mouth guards shouldn't be chewed up and hanging out of players' mouths. They should fit past the second molar on both sides. Molded is better because that helps absorb the shock when players get hit in the head.
  • The helmet shouldn't shake or rattle. If you grab the facemask and the chin strap is tightened up all the way, you should not be able to move the facemask left or right. It should stay neutral.
  • Find out if helmets are recertified every year. "They should be," Norris said. "But a lot of schools can't afford that." One way you can tell: there should be a sticker at the back of the helmet with the year.

If you think something's wrong, ask the trainer or the coach, she advised.

Players also have a role, the trainer stressed.

"We tell them for sure not to customize the helmet in any way," Norris said. "A lot of them want to cut the forehead pads or cut the cheek pads to make them thinner. We definitely discourage that."

And, she added, "they should also have their coaches check their helmets at least every week or two weeks, just to make sure everything's good."

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about concussion in sports.

SOURCES: Joseph S. Torg, M.D., adjunct professor, orthopedic surgery, Temple University, Philadelphia; Wendy C. Norris, certified athletic trainer, head athletic trainer, DeMatha Catholic High School, Hyattsville, Md.; Feb. 11, 2012, presentation, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine meeting, San Francisco


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. QuestNet and AFC: Raising the Bar of Asian Football
2. Europes top football venues are not prepared for treating spectators who suffer heart attacks
3. Sharing Miracles Television Program to Feature Legendary College Football Coach Bobby Bowden
4. Football Injuries More Likely on Certain Artificial Turf
5. Getting extra sleep improves the athletic performance of collegiate football players
6. How football playing robots have the future of artificial intelligence at their feet
7. Artificial Turf Helps Football Players With Agility Drills
8. New frozen smoke material: 1 ounce could carpet three football fields
9. New national study finds increase in football-related injuries among youth
10. Experts Call for Twist on Football Helmet Design
11. Youth Football Injuries on the Rise, Study Finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional ... action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. ... a social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission ... lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” ... the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... WAUSAU, Wis. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... formulated standard products to meet the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities ... team of probiotic experts and tested to meet the highest standard. , ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Dr. Parsa Mohebi, ... a medical article to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town journal section, ... hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). , Dr. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the nation's first interactive health literacy software tool, and the Cancer Patient Education ... of cancer patient education, today announce a new strategic alliance. , As ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017 The Rebound mobile app is poised ... reverse the tide of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers ... intake and stepping down their dosage in a safe, controlled ... December 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign up will ... http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Commended for their devotion to personalized service, ... as number one in the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 ... 5000 yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy has found its ... will soon be honored by SFBJ as the 2017 ... Set to receive his award in October, Bardisa said ...
(Date:9/25/2017)...  EpiVax, Inc., a leader in the fields ... announced the launch of EpiVax Oncology Inc., a ... cancer vaccines. EpiVax has provided $500,000 in seed ... technologies to the new precision immunotherapy venture. Gad ... as Chief Executive Officer. Gad brings over 25 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: