In 2015, the movie Concussion starring Will Smith helped rekindle an important discussion in football regarding whether the sport is doing enough to minimize the risks of concussions. Younger players, especially at the high school and collegiate levels, may be especially at risk for long-term brain damage if concussions are not properly detected or treated. Let’s look at some the recent developments over the past couple of years to address this issue.
USA Football has set up a comprehensive section on their website regarding concussion awareness, with tips for prevention, early detection and treatment. The site describes warning signs and symptoms and offers advice on a plan of action if a concussion is suspected.
Tightening Restrictions and Protocols
Multiple Texas high schools, meanwhile, have recently implemented stricter return-to-play protocols and weekly helmet inspections; and they’ve increased penalties for players who lead with their helmets.
Inspired by his high school science project, Texas Tech University student, Alberto Garcia, developed a specially-engineered shoulder and helmet padding system that earned the attention of the United States military. Garcia wondered why animals like bulls and woodpeckers can routinely sustain massive force to their heads without suffering brain damage. This inquiry led him to study the contributions of rotational acceleration forces, which had been underappreciated by researchers. Part of his solution involved the use of a microprocessor to deflect away impact force and simultaneously reduce whiplash-like rotational forces. You can read more about Garcia’s fascinating innovation and his story here.
Another interesting technology can be found in a different new helmet, the Zero1, which is designed for impact absorption.
Finally, an innovative collar currently in testing attempts to stabilize brain matter inside the skull by increasing blood volume to the brain. These technologies are still either pre-market or out of reach financially for most youth programs, but as the processes are refined, we can expect safer products to make their way eventually into school programs.
For more information on protecting children from concussions and other football-related injuries, see our post here.
Our experienced Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can offer further advice and legal assistance with concussions and other sports injuries. Call our office for more information.