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Used football faceshields are susceptible to breaking on impact
Date:5/23/2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio Game-worn football faceshields are more susceptible to breaking when subjected to high-velocity impact than are new faceshields, according to recent research.

In the study, researchers used an air cannon to hurl baseballs at new and used polycarbonate faceshields. All of the new shields withstood the strongest impact tested, which was designed to match the force of a kick to the face. More than a third of the game-worn faceshields fractured in response to the testing, which included lower forces of impact as well.

In a related survey of college football equipment managers, the researchers found that 98 percent of football programs allow faceshield use, while 18 percent of the players wear a shield. Of the programs that responded, only 21 percent require the use of a faceshield in players with poor vision in one eye. Half of the respondents reported that their school had established a replacement policy for the shields.

The combination of findings led the Ohio State University scientists to recommend that intercollegiate football programs develop a policy for routine inspection and replacement of used faceshields. The researchers also said that coaches or trainers should strongly recommend that football players with poor vision in one eye wear a faceshield during all practices and games.

The most common cause of poor vision in a single eye among children and middle aged adults is a disorder called amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, which affects up to 3 of every 100 children, according to the National Eye Institute. Because the disorder originates in the area of the brain that controls vision, loss of vision in the affected eye can become permanent if it is not treated before about age 8.

"Any football player who has a vision problem should consider wearing a faceshield," said Aaron Zimmerman, assistant professor of optometry at Ohio State and lead author of the study. "Something could happen to the
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Contact: Aaron Zimmerman
azimmerman@optometry.osu.edu
614-247-6188
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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