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Football helmet add-ons such as outer soft-shell layers, spray treatments, helmet pads and fiber sheets may not significantly help lower the risk of concussions in athletes, according to a recently released study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015.
“Our study suggests that despite many products targeted at reducing concussions in players, there is no magic concussion prevention product on the market at this time,” said study author John Lloyd, PhD, of BRAINS, Inc. in San Antonio, Fla., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Researchers modified the standard drop test system, approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, by using a crash test dummy head and neck to more realistically simulate head impact. Sensors were placed in the dummy’s head to measure linear and angular rotational responses to helmet impacts at 10, 12 and 14 miles per hour.
Using this device, BRAINS researchers evaluated four football helmet add-ons: Guardian Cap, UnEqual Technologies’ Concussion Reduction Technology, Shockstrips and Helmet Glide. Riddell Revolution Speed and Xenith X1 football helmets were outfitted with each of these add-ons and impacted five times from drop heights of 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 meters. Linear acceleration, angular velocity and angular accelerations of the head were measured in response to impacts.
The study found that compared to helmets without the add-ons, those fitted with the Guardian Cap, Concussion Reduction Technology and Shockstrips reduced linear accelerations by about 11 percent, but only reduced angular accelerations by 2 percent, while Helmet Glide was shown to have no effect.
“These findings are important because angular accelerations are believed to be the major biomechanical forces involved in concussion,” said Lloyd. “Few add-on products have undergone even basic biomechanical evaluation. Hopefully, our research will lead to more rigorous testing of helmets and add-ons.”
The study was supported by BRAINS, Inc. and Seeing Stars Foundation.
Matt Howsare, of Mintz Levin, recently praised “the long awaited announcement” that Elliot Kaye has been nominated to become the next Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“Having previously served with Elliot in former Chairman Inez Tenenbaum’s office, I am not the least bit surprised that the President chose him to lead the agency. If you have ever had the chance to meet Elliot, you understand why. Elliot’s results-oriented and innovative leadership style over his years at the CPSC has served as the driving force behind many of the agency’s most collaborative and successful initiatives,” he wrote in Mintz Levin’s Consumer Product Matters (http://www.consumerproductmatters.com/) , a product safety and consumer related regulation and litigation blog.
“One of the best examples was his ability to coalesce the leading organizations and companies in football around a common goal: to address the serious issue of brain safety by creating a culture change in youth football through education and training. Here’s the CPSC’s description of a program that is emblematic of Elliot’s leadership style:
“In 2012, CPSC began an innovative public-private collaboration to work on lowering the risk of concussions and other mild traumatic brain injuries at the youth football level. The ‘Youth Football Brain Safety’ initiative involved major companies that manufacture or recondition football helmets, industry associations (the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioning Association and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association), the National Football League (NFL), the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), USA Football (the official youth football development partner of the NFL and the NFLPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Through private funding, the program provides assistance to football programs for economically disadvantaged youth, outfitting their players in newer and properly maintained helmets, provided those programs comply with CPSC- and CDC-supported comprehensive education efforts administered by USA Football aimed at driving a fundamental safety culture change in the sport.”
He continued: “Some of the other CPSC initiatives Elliot spearheaded during our time working together included the agency’s similar approach to addressing brain safety issues in youth baseball and utilizing a collaborative approach to address chemical burn hazards from the ingestion of coin cell batteries with major battery manufacturers. Elliot is currently serving as the Executive Director of the CPSC and previously served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff of the agency. He also previously worked as the Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to Congressman John Tierney.
“It is expected that Elliot will be paired with Joe Mohorovic, who was nominated as the new Republican Commissioner in November of last year. Both nominees bring a considerable background and experience in the world of consumer product safety with them, meaning there will be practically no learning curve for the new leadership of the agency.”