New Study Looks At Football Helmets And Concussions
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By TIM LAMMERS
7:21 PM EDT, July 30, 2011
If you have a child playing high school or college football, then this story is for you. A new study looks at helmets and which ones might be the safest for your child. But not everyone agrees on the results.
Concussions have always happened in football. But only recently have we started to discover just how dangerous they really are.
"Concussions are the number one, perhaps the number one interest, and therefore the number one concern," says Dr. Carl Nissen, Elite Sports Medicine.
So it was only a matter of time before football helmets came under closer scrutiny as well.
"There is, probably, some promise that the newer helmets can reduce the rate of concussions," says Dr. Nissen.
The current standard for NFL and a lot of college, and even high school, teams comes from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSEA). So as long as you've got their seal of approval, you're good to go.
"If a helmet has been approved by NOCSAE, it is gonna meet the minimal standards, so it is gonna be a protective piece of equipment," says Dr. Nissen.
Well, a brand new study has reached some drastically different conclusions.
"The study that we're all talking about as we go into this fall's football season is the STAR criteria for helmet safety," Dr. Nissen says. "A sliding scale of one through five stars as to whether a helmet is good or bad, safe or not."
Like the five-star rated Riddell Revolution Speed. That and all the four-starr rated helmets are highly recommended.
"Their techniques are very well established," says Dr. Nissen. "Their lab does this very well."
But two helmets were not recommended for use. One of them, the Riddell VSR4, is still commonly found in the the NFL. It also has NOCSAE's approval. And NOCSAE isn't changing its stance because Virginia Tech has yet to finish real-world testing to prove that concussion rates match up with the star ratings.