Archive for April, 2012
Concussions have been making a lot of news in recent years. From pee wee sports all the way up to the pros, there have been dozens of studies and investigations into how to treat and reduce the number of concussions that athletes are receiving.
Out of any professional sports league the NFL has probably taken the biggest steps in changing the rules of the game to directly impact the number of concussions it’s players incur. The next step seems to be to come up with better helmets that will help to make the risk of receiving a concussion even less. Companies like Riddell, Schutt and Xenith have been experimenting with a number of new designs, including built in ice packs, multiple exterior plates, and shock absorber’s. And scientists have been seeing good results in testing. Many high schools have already signed on to try some of these new designs during this upcoming season.
But here is why I think these new helmets and new rules won’t help. Players either do not care to or do not know how to properly wear their helmets. And I know this because I was one of them. When I played high school football I would purposely remove air from my helmet to make it more “comfortable”. It was stupid, and dangerous. I got lucky and never had any major concussions. Did I have many small ones, that scientists are finding more and more to be just as dangerous as one big one, sure as hell I did. Did I tell anyone? No way. I didn’t want to leave the field, so I shut my mouth and shook it off. NFL players do the same thing.
Watch any NFL game and take a look at how many players helmets fall off. Notice how loosely tightened their chin strap is? Also take a look to see if they are wearing a mouthpiece. Sure, the running back always has one, and most of the linebackers, but take a look at everyone else, especially the quarterback. Almost none of them wear one. All of these factors lead to concussions. You could have the safest helmet in the world and it wouldn’t make a difference if you didn’t have enough air in it or the chin strap tightened enough.
The fact that mouthpieces aren’t mandatory in the NFL is completely ridiculous. The excuse that it’s “hard to breathe” or “difficult to call out plays” is complete bullshit. These are the best football players in the world and they have all been wearing mouthpieces since they started playing at 5 years old all the way through college (NCAA makes mouthpieces mandatory for all players). Are you telling me that Andrew Luck had trouble playing quarterback last year with a mouthpiece in? How about RG III? I don’t think so. It has been proven scientifically that wearing a mouthpiece reduces concussions. If the NFL and NFLPA really cared about lowering the number of concussions in the league they would make mouthpieces mandatory.
So it really doesn’t matter how much money is spent on making new fancy helmets with all the bells and whistles. If the players choose not to wear their helmets correctly and don’t want to wear a mouthpiece then we will continue to see the same number of concussions in the league. So maybe Mr. Goodell should start making some rules that make some sense, and not just make the game two hand touch. Come on Rog, you are a smart guy, use your brain. Or did you get too many concussions playing high school football?