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Helmet tests create more concussion controversy

As if the NFL hadn’t already generated enough controversy regarding the manner in which the concussion problem has been handled, the league has created even more concern via an ongoing helmet testing program.

Peter Keating of ESPN The Magazine details the criticism, which has caused one manufacturer — Xenith — to withdraw from the program.

It’s a confusing situation, but as best we can tell the concern arises from the fact that the testing focuses only on the impact of direct hits to the helmet at high speeds, ignoring the more common banging of the head via less obvious, but more frequent, impacts.

The involvement of David Viano and Elliot Pellman in the program also has raised eyebrows, given their assertion more than five years ago that there is “no evidence” of “widespread permanent or cumulative effects of single or multiple [concussions] in professional football players.”  A month later, they contended along with three others that a return to play after suffering a concussion “does not involve a significant injury either in the same game or during the season.”

With the results of the testing certain to pit helmet manufacturers against each other, it’s critical for the league to ensure that the process cannot be legitimately criticized by those whose helmets don’t compare favorably.  And that’s what seems to be happening.

Except for the folks whose helmets apparently are holding up well.  “We are very comfortable with the testing,” Dave Arment, Riddell’s CEO, told Keating.

Keating might want to ask Arment any follow-up questions now, while Arment can still hear over the sound of the cash registers.
 

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18 Responses to “Helmet tests create more concussion controversy”
  1. MarkTroy says: Feb 14, 2010 8:58 PM

    Why don’t they put a one inch layer of high density foam or padding on the OUTSIDE of the helmet.
    Come ON, it doesn’t take rocket science. It may look goofy, but it’ll work.

  2. edgy1957 says: Feb 14, 2010 9:01 PM

    Including those nuts only proves that the NFL and the Golden Weasel don’t care about their players. Only a moron would believe what they said and frankly, unless these tests are done by INDEPENDENT TESTERS without any oversight by the NFL, it will all be suspect.

  3. Old Manny of the Mountains says: Feb 14, 2010 9:02 PM

    so they are pissed about this part of the “ONGOING helmet testing program”??
    if its ongoing, then maybe the next helmet test will cover the other type of issues.. Sounds like somebody makes an inferior product and are still in shock about it.

  4. dedhed says: Feb 14, 2010 9:14 PM

    just like gloves in boxing…. the helmet is the reason for many head injuries.
    go back to bare knuckle boxing(like MMA) and leather helmets and there would be fewer serious head injuries.
    there would be more broken noses and cuts but fewer concussions

  5. Klytus says: Feb 14, 2010 9:18 PM

    It’s encouraging that efforts are being made to reduce concussion injury. The fact that the tests are being done differently doesn’t necessarily devalue the tests. What ever had been done in the past clearly isn’t working.
    This testing should be considered a first step in finding a workable solution for concussions. The speed of the testing process which might give incomplete results is probably being driven by political pressure. And we know how sensitive the NFL is about it’s image.
    Still there has to be a better design possible. How about giving the task to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboritory? Even if the NFL only eliminates the helmets that shouldn’t be used that will still be a positive step.
    GO STEELERS!

  6. Bob2K says: Feb 14, 2010 9:23 PM

    If Goodell has his way, players won’t have to wear helmets. Hasn’t he already insisted QB’s wear Red, and offensive players can’t be touched?

  7. mike_311 says: Feb 14, 2010 9:29 PM

    Sorry but I am sick of hearing about concussions. These guys get paid exorbitant amounts of money and getting hurt is a side affect.
    Just like iron workers who can fall of bridges or fire fighters, or policeman. People can die in a dangerous job. Football players get compensated more than most and the risk of “serious” injury is no where near as great. They can quit at any time and be a millionaire, most other professions don’t have that luxury.
    So please let’s move on.

  8. Jim says: Feb 14, 2010 10:11 PM

    You might want to get the Riddell CEO name right – it’s Dan Arment.

  9. MarkTroy says: Feb 14, 2010 10:20 PM

    Yeah, that’s another idea.
    No helmets or just leather ones with minimal padding like in the old days.

  10. Bob S. says: Feb 14, 2010 10:41 PM

    watched the world rugby championships last week, some players wore those old leatherhelmets you see fans now wear. others wear no helmets. just as much head banging in that sport. was on bbc america channel.

  11. pigsty says: Feb 14, 2010 10:58 PM

    Would someone please shove a copy of College Football: History, Spectacle, Controversy by John Sayle Watterson into Troy Aikman’s prig, phat mouth?
    Cretins who insist “helmets are the problem”, that getting “rid of helmets” would solve anything directly or even tangentially related to football injuries — come from the same line of inbred speds who assert “Leatherheads” as documentary fact.
    According to Watterson, football fatalties were a fact of life during the Leatherhead era (1900 – 1950). In 1905 alone, 18 players were killed; the following year, 11. Over much of that period, football-related deaths averaged anywhere from a handful per year to the low teens — at a time when football participation was a fraction of its popularity today. A study of former Ivy League players in 1917 revealed one-third of surveyed respondents admitting to at least 1-2 concussions diagnosed playing football. The New York times reported another 18 fatalities in 1923, 20 in 1925, 18 in 1928 at all levels of football participation. The Carneige Report authored in 1929 specificially refuted the prevailing popular notion that football was becoming “safer” thanks to new rules and better equipment, noting “serious injuries had, in fact, risen” throughout the 1920’s. Similar fatality *rates* continued throughout the 1930’s, when the Depression crimped school budgets for new or replacement equipment.
    Simply and pointedly, Aikman & kind are ignorant buffoons. Even worse, they’re buffoons with influence.
    The Leatherhead era was not safer, kinder, less violent. It was, especially at the beginning, chaotic, primal, perilous & unregulated.
    That “some” among us will always find ways to abuse innovation ostensibly designed to improve safety is not an excuse to forego safety or abandon innovation, a fact so obvious even dodos would get it.
    Were they not extinct. ibid. Leathermen, Aikman, Troy et al.

  12. The Notorious V.I.C. says: Feb 14, 2010 11:26 PM

    @mike_311 ====”Sorry but I am sick of hearing about concussions. These guys get paid exorbitant amounts of money and getting hurt is a side affect.
    Just like iron workers who can fall of bridges or fire fighters, or policeman. People can die in a dangerous job. Football players get compensated more than most and the risk of “serious” injury is no where near as great. They can quit at any time and be a millionaire, most other professions don’t have that luxury.
    So please let’s move on.”==========
    You’re an idiot. And probably either a pencilneck or a fatass.

  13. footballisking says: Feb 15, 2010 12:00 AM

    Make players wear the helmet properly that will reduce concusssions!!!!!!! When someone runs by and touches you and your helmet flies off your helmet is not on tight enough…want to reduce concussion wear the helmets tight as they are designed to

  14. dboom92 says: Feb 15, 2010 9:05 AM

    mike-311, sounds like you’ve taken your fair share of shots to the brain.

  15. AlCortez says: Feb 15, 2010 10:23 AM

    The article the link goes to does a really good job identifying the problems with this. That the NFL’s chase of the almighty dollar periodically screws fans is annoying, but their “one authorized vendor” strategy really devalues player safety here.
    And helmet testing is a murky business. One thing I don’t think they’ve done for football that has been done for motorcycling is identify where the problem lies, i.e. what’s the most frequent concussion-inducing event – is it line-of-scrimmage collisions, or high-speed open field tackles like on kickoff, or…? Can’t test for something if you don’t know what you’re testing for.
    That said, motorcycle helmets are still tested mainly for high-speed impact when the most frequent collision is under 40mph. So knowing the target is only half the battle, especially once a testing method gets the golden seal of approval.

  16. patpatriotagain says: Feb 15, 2010 10:26 AM

    Make them arm tackle. No one knows how to tackle anymore. they just shoot around like missiles. if they forced players to tackle with arms it would eliminate 98 percent of concussion and other head/neck injuries. it will never happen because the NFL makes too much money on the ESPN highlight violence.

  17. Hap says: Feb 15, 2010 10:46 AM

    You mean, somebody’s criticizing them trying to stave off the effects of high speed collisions. The helmets that don’t do as well at HS collisions do well at slower speed collisions ? HUH ? Do what ?
    Forgive me, I must have had too may slow speed collisions when I played.

  18. edgy1957 says: Feb 15, 2010 2:04 PM

    I think that as long as NFL Films keeps cranking out those highlight reels of vicious hits and ESPN continues to show them on SportsCenter, these guys will keep using the damn helmet as a weapon. In-game penalties and fines haven’t help so maybe it’s time to start suspending them incrementally until they get the idea (and their coaches took too many hits themselves, they’ll start clamping down on them when they have to do without them for 3 or 4 games). The helmet was made to be protection but it’s been used as a weapon and a lot longer than some of you think. When I was in school, my head coach encouraged the guys to use it and while no one ever got paralyzed, we had more head injuries during his time as head coach than before or after he was there.

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