Could the “Right” Helmet Prevent Concussions?
By Emily Farr, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent
(Ivanhoe Newswire) –Many football helmet and mouth guard manufacturers claim that their equipment will lessen impact forces and reduce concussion risk. However, as Margaret Alison Brooks, MD, MPH, FAAP, told Ivanhoe at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, neither a specific brand nor a higher cost was associated with fewer concussions in adolescent athletes.
Every year, about 40,000 sport related concussions occur in U.S. high schools. For the study, researchers tested various mouth guard brands, including custom-fit mouth guards, and new and older football helmets. Helmets worn by players were manufactured by Riddell (52 percent), Schutt (35 percent), and Xenith (13 percent). Mouth guards worn by players included generic models provided by schools (61 percent), and mouth guards custom-fitted by dentists or marketed to reduce sport related concussions (SRC) (39 percent).
Researchers found a total of 115 players (8.5 percent) sustained 116 SRCs in 2012. There was no significant difference in SRC rate based on the type of helmet worn, or the year the helmet was purchased.
“Properly maintained and fitted helmets remain important to prevent skull fractures and scalp lacerations in football players. However, because the brain is floating freely inside the skull, I think most experts doubt whether it is possible to ever develop a helmet design that can prevent concussion,” Dr. Brooks, lead co-investigator, told Ivanhoe.
For more information, go to: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Can-the-%E2%80%9CRight%E2%80%9D-Helmet-Prevent-Concussions-.aspx
SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., October 2013
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