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Helmets do little to protect players against brain injury

Many safety experts recommend the use of helmets to protect a person's head from injuries. In the middle of the heated topic of football-related brain injuries, a recent study revealed disturbing information regarding football helmets. This study may interest New Haven, Connecticut, parents with children who are playing youth, high school or college football.

According to the study, the helmets currently used in football are doing a poor job of protecting the sides of the head from trauma, which may lead to head injury and possibly encephalopathy. This was discovered after a number of commonly used helmets in football underwent a crash test approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. To simulate the impact, researchers used a crash test dummy head and neck in order to measure rotation and linear responses to repeated 12 miles-per-hour blows to the head.

There were 330 tests conducted on the 10 most popular football helmets. Researchers found that these football helmets reduced brain injury risk by only 20 percent. They also noted that the Adams a200 helmet provided the best protection for football players against concussion, but not against closed head injury. The Schutt Air Advantage performed poorly on the test, while the Riddell 360 provided the most head protection against closed head injury.

The study indicated that football players, including those in Connecticut, are at risk to brain injury even if they are wearing the best or most popular helmets. With this new information, helmet manufacturers should not mislead consumers about the actual capability of their helmets when it comes to head injuries. Failing to warn consumers or presenting misleading advertising could be a potential liability and expose them to a brain injury lawsuit.

Source: CBS Philly, "Commonly Used Football Helmets Do Little to Protect Against Traumatic Brain Injuries," Stephanie Stahl, Feb. 17, 2014

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