Football is notoriously dangerous. But could this new standard of testing in helmets make them protective against concussions?
Injuries among football players are alarmingly common—so much so that you may even refuse to let your own kids play the sport. But do some of the dangers stem from the design of football helmets? And if the protective gear is improved upon, could injuries be prevented?
According to experts at the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, preventing concussions among football players may be a matter of changing the standards surrounding football helmets.
Up until now, football helmets have undergone a "linear drop test" to measure their effectiveness—but that doesn't necessarily take into account its ability to cushion blows to the side of the head. That's why NOCSAE decided to update standards of screening for football helmets—while this change was decided upon back in January, it won't go into effect until November 2018. So could keeping your kid away for the sport until then be the key to keeping them safe in the game?
“This is an extraordinary step forward in addressing concussion risks,” said NOCSAE vice president Robert Cantu, MD in an emailed release. “Since rotational accelerations are thought by the majority of neuroscientists to be more injurious to the brain than linear accelerations, it’s a significant advancement for NOCSAE to move to final status a rotational acceleration threshold in addition to their already existent linear acceleration threshold in their football helmet standard.”
While it'll take some time for helmets to comply with these new standards—and hopefully bring down concussion rates in turn, this news is incredibly positive: The fact that NOCSAE has come up with this new standard means we're finally reaching a place where football-related injuries are better understood.
Stay tuned for more information about these changes.