Safer helmet designs?
As the NFL continues to fight the never-ending battle against concussions, could the final answer be found in a helmet that's made in Sweden and currently only available for extreme sports and equestrian? In short, no.However, just because one piece of technology or one solution can't get the NFL all the way to the end zone doesn't mean that the league shouldn't attempt to move the metaphorical ball downfield in hopes of eventually reaching its goal.One thing is for sure; the status quo is not acceptable.Many fans don't accept that. They love the status quo, and why wouldn't they? It's the game we know and the game we love. Why would anyone in their right mind want to change a thing? These players know what they're signing up for! They know the risks! Just let them play!Well, no. A thousand times, no. No one truly knows the risks of brain damage in professional football. We're starting to learn, together, and it's a scarier set of truths than many fans, players, media and league officials really want to accept. The men who played football in the '80s and '90s are just now realizing what they put their bodies through. Two decades-plus later, and players are bigger, faster, stronger and the game's impacts seem to get bigger, faster and scarier every year.The game is already changing. Roger Goodell's efforts to make the game safer are not changing football; they're trying to protect a game that has already systemically changed. Walter Camp and the other pioneers of football never imagined a 300-pound man running a 40-yard dash in under five seconds. They would never believe that a linebacker running a 4.4 would ever have the opportunity to collide with a return specialist running in the 4.3 range.Where the NFL (and helmet manufacturers, and just about everyone else) messed up is not that they want to change the game, but that they're reacting to problems that have been around for a generation, and it might be too little, too late.Enter MIPS.Multi-Directional Impact Protection System was founded in 1997 by a Swedish neurosurgeon. Tired of reacting to the brain injuries he saw athletes suffer from everyday, Hans von Holst decided to start doing something about it.Yes, Mr Goodell, there's someone out there who decided to be proactive rather than reactive with regard to brain injuries. It's almost like there are solutions to this problem that don't involve fining James Harrison or witch-hunting in New Orleans.Popular Science recently profiled MIPS and called it "The Helmet That Can Save Football."Rhetoric aside, the article described the helmet's technology in this way:The idea behind MIPS is simple: The plastic layer sits snugly on a player’s head beneath the padding. By allowing the head to float during an impact, MIPS can eliminate some of the rotational force before it makes its way to the brain.MIPS isn't the only new helmet technology making waves in the market. Sports Illustrated's Will Carroll profiled a helmet by Simpson-Ganassi Racing that a handful of players at the NFL level have already adopted. Riddell, the largest football-helmet manufacturer, has rolled out "Concussion Reduction Technology" in helmets like its 360. Companies like Xenith have taken the fight right to parents, convincing them to buy the best-of-the-best for their youth-football players rather than use whatever is available. So, MIPS might not be the helmet to save football...No, let me rephrase that; no helmet, no one solution is going to "save football." However, it is incredibly important that MIPS, Simpson-Ganassi, Riddell, Xenith and the dozens of others keep trying.Believing that one single piece of technology is the panacea to save football clouds the issue and ultimately can do more harm than good. That said, it's also equally absurd to believe that helmets designed several generations ago are somehow capable of protecting this generation of athletes.
The helmets NFL athletes currently wear are, largely, unacceptable in terms of doing anything to combat the concussions that are piling up in ever-increasing fashion. College, high-school and youth athletes are even more at risk.MIPS wants to be part of the solution. So, while this helmet may not save football all by itself, it's pitching in toward the greater goal of a safer game for all.
I don't know where the safest helmet is found, but the fact that the safest on the market is not a mandatory piece of equipment flies in the face of all that the league claims to be trying to do.
This seems so easy. Make the helmet a huge cushion with a soft exterior with shock absorbing insides. THink guys running around with big afro nerf bubbles on their heads.
You know- that is the right direction Flippy. Currently the helmet itself is a 'weapon' that can do damage in a tackle, but if the material was soft, if it was spongy- the impact on other players is lessened dramatically.
Originally Posted by flippy
The product Chadman wants investigated is good old rubber. You could make the helmets out of recycled tyres (good for the environment), make sure they have an air cushion between the casing around the players head & the external 'shell' of the helmet, and then that piece of equipment is no longer a weapon to do damage with.
Get the players off steroids. The long term abuse of steroids does just as much damage to the brain as hits. Look at Webster and Alzedo and their brains for example.
A lot of the symptoms you will see blamed on concussions are the same as what steroids do. You won't see the NFL or the players bring that up though.
The helmets need to be SMALLER. They are so big and bulky it is difficult not to make contact with them.
Even if the material were spongy, the brain will still absorb alot of the impact since the players are so fast nowadays. Make those projectiles smalller and retain the protective qualities. Helmets protect against superficial scrapes and skull fractures, but nothing will really help against brain concussive events as it's free to move inside the skull. MAKE THEM SMALLER so the head doesn't take this type of hit, and easier for players to avoid getting their heads involved!!
I have a feeling that players back in the old days with the small leather helmets had fewer issues. of course the game was different and slower then but I think the smaller equipment helped.