Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newer football helmet design may reduce incidence of concussions in high school players

09.01.2006


Preliminary data are encouraging, though researchers stress no helmet can prevent concussions and proper injury management is of critical importance

Newer football helmet technology and design may reduce the incidence of concussions in high school football players, according to results from the first phase of a three-year study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) Sports Medicine Concussion Program. The current study compared concussion rates and recovery times of high school athletes wearing newer helmet technology to those wearing helmets with traditional designs. There was no significant difference in recovery time between the two helmet groups.

Published in the February issue of the scientific journal Neurosurgery, the UPMC study of more than 2,000 high school football players is the first on-the-field investigation to compare concussion rates and recovery times for high school football players wearing the Riddell® Revolution helmet, with its newer technology and design, to concussion rates and recovery times for players wearing standard helmets with traditional design.



Across the three years of this initial study, the annual concussion rate was 5.4 percent in athletes wearing the Revolution helmet, compared to a 7.6 annual percent rate in athletes wearing standard helmets, representing a 2.3 percent decreased absolute risk of concussion for high school football players. In terms of relative risk, Revolution wearers were 31 percent less likely to sustain a concussion compared to athletes who wore standard football helmets.

The Revolution helmet, manufactured and introduced by Riddell in 2002, was developed with the intent of reducing the incidence and severity of concussion. The design features and engineering specifications of the helmet were formulated after several years of biomechanical laboratory testing. The current study compared the new Revolution helmet versus models of traditional design from Riddell and other manufacturers that were on the market prior to 2002.

"This study, the first to look at how the newer designed helmets performed in the field under real circumstances, provides preliminary evidence that the new helmet technology might substantially reduce, though certainly not prevent, the occurrence and incidence of concussion in high school football players," said principal investigator Micky Collins, Ph.D. "Overall preliminary findings are quite encouraging, and we will continue these studies over the next several years," added Dr. Collins, who is assistant director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

"Prior to this study, research evaluating the effectiveness of helmet design in reducing concussions was performed only in biomechanical laboratory settings. We applaud Riddell for its long-term dedication to research aimed at reducing the effects of what can be a very serious and common injury, and for actively supporting continued on-the-field investigations," said study co-author Mark Lovell, Ph.D. "By continuing this type of study long term, we will be able to obtain essential real-life data and increase our knowledge and understanding of how sports helmet technology and design may be effective in reducing the incidence of concussions in athletes," said Dr. Lovell, who is director of the UPMC program.

The large-scale observational naturalistic study was conducted by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program with funding support from Riddell. The research took place over the course of three consecutive football seasons from 2002 to 2004 and involved more than 2,000 football players from 17 high schools in western Pennsylvania for which UPMC directs an ongoing individualized clinical concussion management program.

No differences in recovery time with newer helmet technology: Proper management of concussion is critical

The concussions that occurred during the study were diagnosed by teams’ certified athletic trainers or physicians who were present on the sidelines at the time of injury. Athletes were assessed with ImPACT(Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) to monitor injury effects and recovery and assist with decisions regarding return-to-play. ImPACT is the most widely used computerized neurocognitive test battery that evaluates cognitive functions such as memory, information processing speed and reaction time, as well as symptom levels, all of which can be affected by concussion. Athletes can complete the test on a laptop or desktop computer within about 30 minutes. Most of the athletes in the study had completed the ImPACT battery during the pre-season, which served as a baseline for comparison once a concussion was sustained.

Concussed athletes were followed and treated clinically by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Generally, the athletes were clinically evaluated within 72 hours of injury, then at approximately 1, 2 and 3 weeks post-injury. In some cases, longer-term follow-up and evaluation was needed. Consistent with international concussion management guidelines, no athlete was returned to play until ImPACT scores indicated recovery of cognitive functioning, and the athlete was symptom free both at rest and with physical activity.

In examining the recovery rates between the Revolution and traditional helmet samples, there were no statistical differences found in terms of length of recovery required. Thus, helmet technology played no significant role in rate of recovery in these high school athletes, according to the authors. Across both helmet groups, only 50 percent of the athletes recovered within the first week of injury. Approximately 70 percent had recovered within two weeks, and approximately 15 percent required three or more weeks to fully recover from their sustained concussions. Results also revealed that the two helmet groups did not differ significantly regarding mechanism of injury, region of helmet struck or presence of on-field signs and symptoms of concussion.

"These findings reaffirm numerous previously published studies indicating that careful concussion evaluation and management is absolutely essential for safe return to play," stressed Dr. Collins. "Perhaps the most striking finding of our study is that even seemingly mild concussions often required weeks for recovery to be complete. Our current and previous data clearly debunk the myth that ’getting one’s bell rung’ is an innocuous event. In fact, what appeared to be the mildest injuries on the field often required the longest recovery periods."

UPMC researchers were first to publish such findings, involving severity and recovery of "bell ringers" in high school athletes, in the January 2003 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery(http://newsbureau.upmc.com/MediaKits/Concussion/MildConcussionStudy.htm) and January 2004 issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine (http://newsbureau.upmc.com/MediaKits/Concussion/DingStudy2004.htm).

Concussion is any change in mental status resulting from the brain being jolted inside of the skull due to a blow to the head or upper body. "Generally, an athlete who sustains an initial concussion can fully recover as long as the brain has had time to heal before sustaining another hit," explained Dr. Collins. "A concussed athlete should never be allowed to return to contact play until he or she is completely recovered. The tricky part is that concussion signs and symptoms are not always straightforward, therefore the effects and severity of injury and safe return-to-play can be difficult to determine without careful clinical evaluation of symptoms and objective data about cognitive functioning that can be obtained using ImPACT."

"Our current understanding of the biomechanics, injury markers and symptoms, and recovery of sports-related concussion is advancing rapidly through research efforts around the world. Potential fruits of these efforts are advances in helmet technology and well-designed and controlled field studies. Clearly at this point, no helmet or other technology is available to prevent concussions from occurring, but it is exciting to see that definite strides are being made from both an equipment and clinical management perspective, aimed at reducing the incidence and severity of concussive injury," said study co-author Joseph Maroon, M.D., professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Other authors of the study are Grant L. Iverson, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia; and Thad Ide, Research and Product Development, Riddell, Inc.

Susan Manko | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upmc.edu
http://newsbureau.upmc.com/MediaKits/ConcussionMain.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>