Scientists doubtful of anti-concussion helmet claims, rules may be best method of preventing injuries
Many helmets now feature new technologies that claim to help to prevent concussions in contact sports, but scientists are not convinced that this type of equipment can reduce the impacts associated with brain trauma, according to the Los Angeles Times. Neorologist Jeffrey Kutcher, the chairman of the America Academy of Neurology’s sport section, stated that despite the new equipment’s features, players still receive concussions that may impact them for the rest of their lives.
Kutcher may be right in his research. Although a helmet and other safety equipment may lesson an impact, they may not prevent the brain from rebounding inside the skull, which is one of the ways a concussion can occur.
“I wish there was a product on the market,” the news source quoted Kutcher saying at a recent Senate hearing. “The simple truth is that no current helmet, mouth guard, headband or other piece of equipment can significantly prevent concussions from occurring.”
It may seem that the best way to reduce the amount of concussions in football and hockey games is to tweak the rules of these sports so that players receive less blows to the head. Instituting these contact restrictions may eventually result in fewer athletes who suffer from concussion-related illnesses when they get older.
Both the NFL and NHL have taken recent steps to prevent players from receiving career threatening hits.
The professional football organization made changes this year that have extended protection to defenseless players such as quarterbacks, punters and kickers who cannot “turtle up” to prevent harm. Rules alterations have also been made in regard to how players are allowed to hit one another. Penalties are now instituted for defenders who “leave their feet” and make helmet-to-helmet contact or provide blows to the head, according to the NFL’s safety guidelines.
Hockey, a sport that many may view as excessively violent in some areas, has also received a rules change to help protect players. According to The New York Times, the NHL recently increased safety rules much to the dismay of many critics. The media outlet reports that players on the ice may no longer make checks to the head of an opponent and that the league has even cracked down on one of the sport’s biggest areas of controversy – fighting.
The news provider states that the league has increased fighting penalties in an effort to reduce infractions that may lead to players being hurt, even though many feel that this takes away a fundamental part of the game.