The Evolution of the Helmet and Its Effect of Concussions
Giants 101, a fan site for the New York Giants, had an interesting piece over the weekend that looked at how Giants quarterback Eli Manning used the same helmet earlier this year that he used in college before upgrading to Schutt’s Sports Vengeance helmet.
Interestingly it looked at the fact that helmets cannot eliminate concussions.
“It’s very easy to understand why people think that helmets do prevent concussions. It’s a head injury and the helmet is on your head,” Glenn Beckmann of Schutt Sports told Giants 101. “Think about it as if you had an egg. You can shake that egg and not break the shell, but the yolk is still scrambled. We’ve figured out how to protect eggshells, but we’ve never been able to figure out to protect the yolk from being scrambled.”
That doesn’t mean helmet makers won’t keep trying, only that it will be a challenge.
“The brain floats inside the skull, so in order to prevent concussions, we need to figure out how to slow the deceleration of the brain when there’s an impact. Somebody sometime is going to figure it out, and when they do, we’ll have the first concussion-proof helmet,” Beckmann said. “That’s the Holy Grail for all of us, but right now, with the technology and knowledge that we have, we just don’t have what it takes to get there. I do believe eventually we’ll get there, but I don’t know if it will be in our lifetime.”
Beckmann continued: “No helmet is concussion proof just by the nature of the injury itself. Helmets do two things. They protect the skull and absorb impact. The impact absorption is important, but we’ll never go so far as to say ‘this will reduce the risk of concussions.’ It’s truthful to say we’re designing helmets to reduce the risk of concussion, but we won’t say that helmets can reduce the risk of concussion because there are too many factors that helmets don’t have an effect on.
“We want to educate people on what helmets can and can’t do, but we also want to avoid a false sense of security that if people get a higher grade of helmet that they’re not going to get hurt …because that’s just not true.”