News flash: Helmets can’t prevent concussions

In searching the Internet for NFL stories that may interest you early on a Saturday morning, we found one about concussions that, frankly, makes us feel like we’ve had a concussion.

According to the Associated Press, current helmet technology cannot prevent concussions.

As if all the concussions in football suffered by guys wearing helmets based on current technology weren’t enough proof of that reality.

But, still, the AP conducted a “series of interviews” aimed at proving the obvious.  It’s not a bad primer for someone who just emerged from a 20-year slumber or who just discovered football.  For folks who have been paying attention to the sport, it’s the equivalent of assembling a panel of physicists and other folks with advanced degrees in science to identify for the rest of us the color of the sky.

10 responses to “News flash: Helmets can’t prevent concussions

  1. The only way to limit concussions is to go back to leather helmets. No one takes this seriously, but they should.

    This would also take care of most of the “defenseless receiver” and “launching” and “blows to the head” because no idiot in their right mind, who is wearing a leather helmet, would tackle someone that way. They would hurt THEMSELVES. The net result would be better tackling. “Wrapping up” would be the norm in the NFL.

    In fact, they should turn the UFL into a leather helmet league to try it out. I would watch…

  2. Why a story like this is important is that one, there are some people who don’t “get it” yet and two, it emphasizes the fact that helmet technology has moved at a snail’s pace and needs a more serious R&D investment from the league.

  3. Off course nothing 100% guarantees against a concussion.

    But my idea of wrapping helmets in a 2″ or 3″ thickness of wrestling mat type padding would substantially lessen the cannonball like impact of helmet to helmet …… or helmet to chin/jaw or helmet to knee or helmet to spine or helmet to ANYWHERE hits.

    It would look a little funny at first but people would quickly get used to it and it would practically stop concussions overnight.

    For anyone who says this wouldn’t work ask yourself why boxers even bother then to wear headgear when they spar or for that matter extra padded boxing gloves?

    Right now the NFL is a bare knuckled streetfight. Wrestling mat padded helmets would be like putting on boxing gloves AND wearing sparring gear.

    Again … the idea is so simple and could virtually eliminate concussions overnight. If the NFL doesn’t do this then – IMO – it does not have a GENUINE interest in trying to eliminate concussions.

  4. The more relevant question is: What, if any, helmet models are available that might measurably reduce the risk of future concussions? It has been reported that Eagles WR DeSean Jackson was expected to be outfitted with a larger, newer model last Sunday against the Colts.

  5. As for the bubble wrap protecting the egg analogy …… ANYTHING that slows down the sudden stop reduces the force with which the brain hits the inside of the skull. You can’t use broad analogies to describe miniscule scientific measurements.

    Or if you want to play that game here is a broad analogy …. To use a very exaggerated example, if players helmets were wrapped in a 10 foot thickness of bubble wrap do you think there would still be one single concussion?



    Seriously, how do people not get this.

  6. The problem that people just don’t get is that it isn’t that the helmet won’t protect against concussions but that it’s being used as a way to inflict them. I hate to tell the blood lusters but there was a time when players tackled without using the helmet as a weapon but as the helmet technology improved, the coaches and players realized that they could use it more to their advantage and they did. I would rather see good form tackling and hard hitting than a guy going after a kill shot and crippling a player or completely missing the tackle ala Roy ‘The human 60 yard TD whiff” Williams.

    I say that we find a way to protect the sides and back of the head while making it harder for them to use the top of the head for kill shots.

  7. what is most surprising to me is the fact that no one recognizes the double edge sword that we are looking at here. on the one hand we want to improve safety and reduce concussions, and on the other we want to improve helmet technology to help prevent concussions (i believe because we concede the fact that most of these types of collisions are inevitable and in most cases unavoidable, see Austin Collie). what no one seems to realize is that by improving the helmet technology, you are almost encouraging the types of hits that Goodell is trying to legislate out of the game. If players continue to believe that the only person they are inflicting damage on is the person they are hitting (especially because they have “concussion resistant” helmets), they will continue with the status quo. Dont get me wrong, i understand why we need to improve the technology. Some of these hits are going to happen anyway, so we need to protect the players as much as we can when they do. However, i think it needs to be said that some people will see it as a great reason to keep “playing hard” (see recklessly).
    I dont believe for a minute that many, if any at all, of the Harrisons, Merriwhethers, or Sims of the world are being “dirty” or intentionally trying to end careers because the risk of retaliation is too real. Players police themselves. I do believe that those same players have taken the “play hard and fast” mantra a little too far and THAT is what I believe Goodell MEANS to take out of the game (though his method leaves plenty to be desired) There’s never a good reason to lead with the crown of your head, but at every level of football, form tackling is getting low, putting your facemask on the football or into the chest of the ballcarrier, wrap with the arms, roll the hips, and drive the man to the ground. Whether you like it or not, the head is too close to the shoulder to completely eliminate it from all contact. We can only teach and preach to be more conscientious about where we place our heads when we tackle, but we’re kidding ourselves to think that there will never be any head on collisions in football.

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