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October 15, 2012

Helmets Protect, Just Not Against Concussions

Sidney Crosby wore one. So did Junior Seau. But both men received concussions while wearing helmets. How come? Well, The Vancouver Sun reports that the short answer is, unfortunately, wearing a helmet does not mean that your brain is protected from concussion injuries.

Helmets were designed to protect its wearer from linear injuries, such as when a player hits the ground or ice, or is hit with a stick. But the concern now is that player concussions occur from hitting another player’s shoulder, elbow, or hands, which results in an angular, not linear, head injury. This type of injury is called rotational acceleration, caused when the head is hit on an angle, and is the leading cause of concussions.

But that leaves the problem that helmets are not designed to handle that type of impact. With preventing concussions becoming a priority, manufacturers are looking for designs that help prevent rotational acceleration. One manufacturer hopes helmets can provide better protection against concussions within three years.

But while changes to helmet design alone won’t reduce the risk of concussions, a change in the attitude within the sporting world might. Dangerous play and hitting is still a cause of concern for parents and athletes. If you have further questions about concussion safety in sports, Hockey Canada has some great tips and advice.

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