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  1. #1
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
    RamsFanSam is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    Time to Re-Engineer the Helmet?

    Orlando Pace. Isaiah Kacyvenski. Trent Green. Kordell Stewart. Dan Morgan. Kurt Warner.

    That's only a few of the players who have suffered concussions this season.

    A player in the NFL has a 100% probability of suffering an injury during his career if that career lasts more than 8 years. (Thanks to Uncle John's Bathroom Reader for that statistic.) When you are talking about a concussion, this is extremely serious.

    In case you don't know what a concussion is, it is an injury to the brain, typically caused by a blow to the head (although a whiplash type injury can also result in a concussion), that causes a violent movement of the brain within the skull. When this happens, the neurons 'short circuit', firing all at once, overloading the brain. This is similar to a seizure. Recently, brain scans show a victim of a concussion shows brain activity similar to someone in a coma. Bruising of brain tissue and hemorrhaging can result even if there is no loss of consciousness.

    Serious stuff.

    So, why, to me, does it seem like we are seeing more concussions this season, as well as facial injuries like those suffered by Paul Smith?

    It's not because the players have gotten wimpy. It's not due to the lack of rules created and enforced that protect the players. It's not due to a change in the playing surface.

    The one common denominator is the helmets.

    It's been a few years since I last donned a skid lid and rode off on the road, but I remember the DOT had minimum standards for the helmets bikers wore. Half helmets, full face, there were different designs and brands, but they all had to conform to the same standards. I assume the NFL requires Riddell to manufacture each helmet to a minimum standard, too.

    The minimum doesn't seem good enough anymore. The shell of the helmet must be strong enough to withstand extreme impact. The lining must allow the helmet to 'breathe'. What's between the shell and lining has to absorb the energy from an impact, and prevent the wearer's skull from moving too fast, thereby preventing injury. In the 80's most motorcycle helmets were made of hard plastic, stuffed with styrofoam, and the lining was made of nylon or a similar material. The better helmets had a little foam padding for the ears and other areas.

    This is 2006, not 1986. In twenty years, surely science has progressed far enough that foam inserts and styrofoam are 'stone age' technology.

    Something has got to give. This season, it's been the player's health far too often.

    Instead of hiring a fashion designer to come up with a new uniform design for the officials, maybe they should have spent the money finding ways to prevent injuries.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Time to Re-Engineer the Helmet?

    Great point RamsFanSam. Excellent read.

    Tried to rep you...need to spread them around. Sorry

  3. #3
    BigGameMN's Avatar
    BigGameMN is offline Registered User
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    Re: Time to Re-Engineer the Helmet?

    I'm sorry to say this, but it will probably take a death to get things fixed. That's what it took in NASCAR with Dale Earnhardt. Not that they weren't concerned with safety before that, but they really changed a lot of things after that. I fear the same thing will have to happen for the NFL to get serious about a better helmet.

  4. #4
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
    RamFan_Til_I_Die is online now Registered User
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    Re: Time to Re-Engineer the Helmet?

    Not only are people getting too many concussions, helmets seem to be flying off players heads much more often when sometimes the hits aren't even that big. If a helmet can't stay on a guy's head when he gets hit, what good is it to him?

  5. #5
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER's Avatar
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER is offline Registered User
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    Re: Time to Re-Engineer the Helmet?

    I understand where you're coming from on this, but I don't think there is a whole lot more they can do to the helmets to prevent a concussion. Even dampening foam, or like substance won't prevent the cause of a concussion, which is caused when the brain slams against the skull. Even DOT helmets, as you alluded to, don't prevent concussions, they merely provide a shell and barrier against projectile intrusions to the brain. I quarentee if you slam your noggin' onto the concrete with a DOT helmet, you'll ring your bell. I know, I've been riding for over 35 years. When the head is slammed against the turf, the skull comes to a sudden and complete stop, while the brain, which is floating around in the skull, keeps moving until it impacts the skull. You can't change the physics of that. It's just one of the hazards of the game. :x
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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