Hitting back hard against concussions

July 10, 2011

For quite some time, mankind/womankind (especially American mankind/womankind) has enjoyed the pastime of chasing around an oblong ball and running into each other at high speed. Yes I’m talking about football, the single greatest sport of all time in my professional computer geek opinion :)

The biggest problem over the years with football has been that the participants of the game get beaten to a pulp on a regular basis, and the lingering effects of these beatings are still not fully understood. If you look at the lifespan of former NFL athletes, there are some very scary statistics out there that playing professional football can have grave long-term consequences on the human body (especially the brain).

Over the past few years, football helmet manufacturers have been trying to create better products that protect the precious cargo stored within them, but what is pretty amazing is how slowly the NFL has embraced these new products. High school and college football players have been flocking to these newer helmets, but the highest level of competition doesn’t have any rules in place for the safety of their helmets. In fact, they have a contract with only one specific helmet manufacturer (Riddell), and if any player wants to wear a different helmet, they MUST cover up the name of the manufacturer!

Helmet manufacturers are trying to create better products that protect the precious cargo stored within them, but it's amazing is how slowly the NFL has embraced them.

Enter the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences of Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. They developed a standardized testing procedure to effectively rate the safety of helmets for how well they can help protect from concussions. Their study can be found here http://www.sbes.vt.edu/nid.php.

One of the biggest findings was that there is no correlation between price and safety, and that the most popular helmet in the NFL is one of lowest rated! With the exploding concussions statistics in the NFL, many players are now switching, but it still makes you wonder why the NFL isn’t mandating more safety for their most precious commodity, their players. They spend countless hours making up new rules about how person A is allowed to hit person B, but they don’t require that either person be wearing safer helmets.

As you look over the list of helmets, I’d like to point out one in particular that was styled and revolutionized right here at Design Concepts, the Schutt DNA: http://www.design-concepts.com/portfolio/industry/sports-recreation/schutt-dna-football-helmet

(I’ll also point out that it has the best safety/cost ratio… just sayin’)