Concussion Helmets: Is The Technology Worth the Price?
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The game of football is changing. Big hits over the middle and hard shots on the quarterback are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
These changes are a direct result of research done over time on the effects of concussions. The methods involved in treating head injuries are also changing as Dr. Eric Janssen explains from his office at SportsMED in Huntsville.
“I know when we started 20 years ago, if someone came off [the field] and acted a little loopy, as soon as they started acting semi-normal we would stick them back in there not really knowing the consequences of that,” said Dr. Janssen.
Now Dr. Janssen says it is mandatory to pass concussion tests before stepping foot back on the field. These precautions are aimed at preventing long-term health issues and are also creating the demand for new technology in the manufacturing business.
Several companies are trying to make the game safer by designing helmets which protect the head from vicious impacts on the field. Xenith is one of the leaders in helmet technology these days and recently unveiled its new X2 Varsity model. Athletic trainer Jeff Kinard at SportsMED explains how it works.
“When you button up the chinstrap it tightens around their head and when they are hit, it actually tightens further,” said Kinard. ”With each impact the helmet actually tightens even further and thus improves performance.”
The idea seems to make sense to those in the medical field and also in the coaching profession. Grissom High School Head Coach Dale Overton suggested outfitting his team in the new Xenith X2 models this season. With some help from boosters as well as Crestwood Medical Center and SportsMED, Coach Overton’s idea became reality.
Not only is his team wearing the new helmets, but so are the Crimson Panthers at Huntsville High School.
The price tag involved with outfitting two varsity teams is expensive and leads some people to wonder if it is worth it. Individually, these helmets cost around $400. Thanks to buying them in bulk for two schools the price was reduced to $187. The discount is what made this purchase possible for Grissom and Huntsville High Schools. But, the overwhelming sentiment is that saving just one player from health issues down the line is worth it. However, nobody is certain the helmets are doing that.
“We don’t really have any definitive data that proves they reduce concussions right now,” Dr. Janssen says. ”It is a hot topic and the manufacturers are trying to figure out how to design these helmets to make them safer from that standpoint.”
Only time will tell if the new technology is a successful idea. But, right now it is big business and for good reason.
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