Researchers Say Helmet Fit Is Critical To Preventing Concussion

Researchers affiliated with the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) suggested yesterday that proper helmet fit may be one of the best ways to prevent a concussion.

“Athletes wearing properly fitted helmets, as reported by team certified athletic trainers, were 82 percent less likely to experience loss of consciousness (LOC) with a concussion. Helmet age and condition, (new vs. reconditioned) were not significant predictors of amnesia or LOC,” said one of the paper’s authors, Joseph Torg, MD of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.

Researchers looked at reports from 1,398 concussion events collected by the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System using High School RIOTM. They used loss of consciousness (LOC) and amnesia as end points to determine concussion severity. Out of those studied, 44 individuals experienced LOC and 267 experienced some form of amnesia. Odds ratios for LOC were calculated based on helmet fit, inner helmet padding systems, athlete age and helmet condition (new vs. reconditioned.)

There is no definitive data that advanced football helmet technology and design is more protective against concussion or intracranial hemorrhage, according to the study. In fact, current data indicates that helmet fit and air bladder lining may be associated with both concussion and intracranial hemorrhage.

“As we look at preventing concussions and minimizing risk, it is important to realize that it is the responsibility of the athletic director and head football coach to have policies that: Insure that each player has a properly fitted helmet and that a responsible adult supervises and oversees proper helmet air bladder inflation on a weekly basis,” said Torg.

AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids. For more information on AOSSM or the STOP Sports Injuries campaign, visit http://www.sportsmed.org or http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org.

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