New sensitivity to head injuries could create a stigma

We’re stunned by the speed with which the NFL has been addressing the problem with concussions in football, due in large part to the fact that the league adopted a “nicotine isn’t addictive” approach for years.

So kudos to Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is cleaning up yet another mess created by those who came before him.

Still, there’s a downside to the new sensitivity to this problem.  And we address it in our latest item for

You can read it right here.

14 responses to “ New sensitivity to head injuries could create a stigma

  1. Could their be a problem with the players union here? I don’t see many players agreeing with not being able to play or having their careers cut short due to new rules on concussions even though they are the ones being protected. I know congress has made it imperative that the NFL make some changes, but how far does it go? NFL players on average play four years or so, and have trouble making football economically viable for the most part. Thus I see this becoming an issue with a new CBA necessary in the near future.

  2. How is having a “concussion history” any more damning than a WR having a 3rd or 4th knee surgery? Does the WR coming back from a lisfranc injury get a free pass, or does he have the stigma of a “recurring foot injury” attached?
    Were teams excited to go after Chad Pennington after his 2nd shoulder surgery?
    ANY repeat injury is, and should be from a GM’s perspective, a cause for concern. The NFL is taking the correct approach… shorten a player’s career, but at least he’ll remember his playing days when he’s 50. How much is Muhammad Ali enjoying his glory days, or his childrens’ success… he doesn’t have a clue due to brain injury.

  3. Is there someone that knows much about advances in new protective materials?
    Isn’t there any new product or material that absorbs impact significantly better than the padding currently used in helmets? It seems to me that there are things that would do a better job than the current padding inside helmets (I thought I once saw a demonstration of a material that 2 inches of padding absorbed the impact of a sledgehammer).
    I don’t know the scientific formula for how many pounds of pressure is exerted when a 240 lb linebacker 8 mph for 10 yards and hits a stationary target. Whatever the scientific measurement for that impact is, it far exceeds the absorbtion of the padding inside a helmet. So on a hit to the head, the player’s head is what absorbs the bulk of the impact, and the result can often lead to concussions with long-term brain injury from reapeated blows to the head.
    So if there is some new breakthough in protective padding, it would seem to be the best preventative measure to minimize head injuries.

  4. I’ll say it again …
    My solution is to cover the helmet with a two or three inch thick wrestling mat type padding.
    It will look weird at first but will take away the cannonball like impact of helmet to helmet, helmet to chin or jaw, helmet to knee, etc. hits.

  5. There is an easy solution. It’s a a 45 day plan. 45 days! To get this problem corrected. 45 points! It’s a 45 day, 45 point…1 point per day. They get 45 points, they’re back in business. On Day 45, problem solved. The rest just fills in.
    And you can take that to the bank.

  6. To those who say adding more padding to the helmet is the answer – it’s not. Concussions occur when the brain bangs against the skull. Sudden deceleration of the head is the cause. Adding padding inside the helmet can protect the scalp and maybe slow head movement a little, but it makes little difference. About 6-7 years ago, quarterbacks started trying new helmets with inflatable bladders inside. Yet the incidence of concussions hasn’t appeared to decrease. Adding padding to the outside of the helmet won’t help anything.

  7. Padding’s going to help only so much. It’s never going to address the problem of rapid head acceleration/deceleration in which the head gets knocked around and the brain bounces off the inside of the skull. For instance this is why they have hans devices for race car drivers – to stop the head whiplash. Barring some sort of wacky new halo head restraint this problem isn’t going to go away.

  8. wrestling mat type padding? no way. a thin, spongy layer covered in liquid latex to preserve the sheen of the helmets while reducing the damage they can inflict? maybe.
    NFL, take my idea. I won’t sue.

  9. As per your article:
    “But theory and reality could be banging heads… ”
    No pun intended, I assume…

  10. The problem is there is very little you can do equipment-wise to help alleviate the problem. 2-3 inches of padding gives you just that, 2-3 inches of absorption. That is it. The rest must be taken by the head, and the brain sloshing around. A concussion is essentially a brain contusion caused by the brain slamming against the side of the head. You can absorb 2-3 inches of travel, but that isn’t very much when the head strikes a hard object. Another part of the problem is the outer shell of helmets. They are hard, which is kind of idiotic, as it does little to actually protect, and does a lot of harm when it impacts. That is why players like to hit head first, because that hard shell does a lot of damage when it strikes.
    Helmet redesign is necessary, and we need to get away from a hard outer shell to a softer absorbing plastic. After all, you don’t need to stop a bullet, just need to protect the head. The hard pads on any part of the body need to be replaced by a softer padding. Not SOFT, but softer, an absorbing plastic and not hard shelled plastics. Take away the weapon, and the players won’t be as likely to use the head as a weapon. In fact, they will be more likely to protect the head on impact. We see players do it every week, lead with the head. It won’t stop until we change the helmets. This will also reduce neck injuries. Studies on motorcycle helmets show that while they reduce head injuries, they actually increase the likelihood of a rider dying in an accident because the energy is displaced to the neck, which is a vital, yet very weak part of the body.
    I would recommend that helmets be made out of a shell that breaks upon hard impact, displacing energy. Yes, it would increase costs, as you would be replacing helmets a lot, but it would help reduce head injuries by transferring energy into the shell as it breaks/crumples.

  11. Well, if the outside padding was 6 or 7 inches thick it might help. That would look pretty cool, wouldn’t it?
    Well, maybe not.
    Wait — I know!! Air bags in the helmets that would deploy right before contact. Sure, it would slow the game down since everybody would have to change helmets after each play…but what price are we willing to pay for the long term health of our NFL heroes?????????
    Man, I’ve got a serious headache right now.

  12. Manufacture a 1/2 inch light rubber compound element that bonds with the hard outer plastic of the helmet.
    On the inside, you could line it with a shock “absorbing” liquid gel compound.
    I need to get back to my laboratory!

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