Posts Tagged ‘concussion prevention’

State Concussion Laws

Review of 51 laws highlights protection gaps

The NFL helped bring about the most positive concussion news in recent years by helping all 50 states and the District of Columbia to pass laws aimed at protecting youth athletes from head injuries. But many are now asking if those laws carry enough weight.

Concussion laws

A recent review by the Associated Press of the 51 concussion laws found that approximately 33 percent made no reference to any ages or grade levels covered. Even fewer make explicit reference to both interscholastic sports and recreation leagues. Some state laws clearly cover public and private schools, some only reference public schools, and others lack any such wording. And any mention of penalties for non-compliant schools and leagues is absent in nearly all.

Missing the mark of the original goal

Washington state passed the first concussion law in 2009. That law calls for coach education on concussion symptoms, removing players from games for suspected head injuries,  return-to-play clearance, and required parent/player signed concussion information forms.

The AP review found that only 21 of the laws include all four of the required components in Washington’s bill, which served as the  model for other states’ legislation. Laws in only 34 states mandate return to play/practice only upon written clearance by a health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. And only 30 require concussion information forms be signed by athletes and their parent/guardian.

Headline media coverage of concussion issues resulted in states passing concussion laws quickly. However, concerns about the cost of enforcing the laws resulted in many being ultimately weaker than originally intended, according to Jay Rodne, a Washington state representative who sponsored the original bill.

Where things stand

The NFL admits that in some states compromises were made in some states to get laws on the books. This resulted in “A ‘B’-level law, as opposed to an ‘A’-level law,” according to Jeff Miller of the  NFL’s health and safety policy. It’s always possible to go back and amend the laws, said Miller. He points out that the passage of these laws has resulted in a growing awareness of concussion safety protocols and risk management among players, parents, coaches, and team/league administrators and concussion treatment.

We invite you to read more of our articles on concussion risk management and research.

Source:  Howard Fendrich and Eddie Pells, “Youth Concussion Laws Pushed By NFL Are Not Enough.” 28 Jan. 2015.

Football Governing Bodies Adopt Rule Changes

Concussion risks prompt regulation amendments

Football governing and sanctioning bodies have adopted rule changes to protect players against concussions and repeated sub-concussive impacts (CTE) as a result of recent concerns.

Below are the National Federation Of High Schools 2012 rule changes:

  • If the helmet comes off during a live play, high school players must sit out for the following play.
  • Concussions policy for all high school sports:
    Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health care professional.
  • Once a player has been concussed, the suggested concussion management policy is as follows:
    1.  No athlete should return to play or practice the same day of a concussion.
    2.  Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare professional that day.
    3.  Any athlete with a concussion should be medically cleared by an appropriate health care professional prior to resuYouth tackle footballming participation in any practice or competition

Individual state rule changes:

  • The Texas High School Coaches Association requires coaches to successfully complete two hours of concussion training prior to September 1, 2012. A refresher course is required every two years.

Pop Warner 2012 rule changes:

Two new rules were designed to limit contact and the way players hit each other:

1.  No full-speed, head-on blocking or tackling drills in which players line up more than three yards apart. Intentional head-to-head contact is prohibited.

2.  Coaches must limit contact at each practice to a maximum of one-third of practice time. “Contact” means any drill or scrimmage where players go full speed with contact.

In my opinion:

The Pop Warner rule will have a limited impact since only 28% of concussions occur during practice, according to the injury data that my insurance agency has developed on youth football injuries.

John Sadler

Source: The Safety Rulebook; American Football Monthly; Volume 18; August/September 2012

Soccer Protective Headgear Debate

Manufacturer Refutes NBC Interview Criticism

We recently posted “Concussion Experts on Protective Soccer Headgear” about NBC Rock Center’s story that drew the conclusion that headgear devices such as Full90 were not effective.

Since then, the manufacturer of the product, Jeff Skeen, contacted us with the following rebuttal:

This story is completely one sided and misleading. I was interviewed by NBC for almost 4 hours. For much of the time we specifically reviewed the two peer reviewed, published studies on Full90 headgear. Yet for some reason, it was never mentioned in the NBC segment. If fact, they allowed a doctor to even imply there are no peer reviewed studies when they had them in their hands!

One of the studies titled “The effectiveness of protective headgear in reducing the incidence of head injuries among adolescent soccer players,” which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, concluded that players NOT wearing the Full90 headgear had 2.65 times as many concussions which is about a 60% reduction for those who were wearing it. We do not make the claim, we are simply saying what an independent peer review study concluded. No study is perfect, but this was conducted by a major university and peer reviewed. Obviously like all safety equipment, we cannot use live subjects for testing and must rely upon laboratory testing. Opponents will always claim the studies had some weakness. There will always be those that claim there is not enough evidence.

The nice girl they featured apparently had 6 concussions and then began to use headgear and had several more. There is Concusison rates in girls soccernow a law in the state of Texas named after her called “Natasha’s Law.” This law requires parents and their child’s doctors to sign releases before the child can return to play after a concussion. It seems to me that the NBC segment should have focused on this, not trying to blame the headgear. There is consensus in the medical community that even a single concussion increases your risk factor of getting another by 400-600%.

There is no product that can eliminate all injuries and we certainly do not claim that ours will. We are trying to reduce the probability of injury by reducing the force reaching the head.

Keep in mind the exact arguments against our headgear are the same that were used against hockey helmets, ski helmets, seat belts, bike helmets, lacrosse eyewear, rugby helmets, and even shin guards.

Check out the story, NBC Report on Concussions – What Was Missed? which is more balanced.

Concussion Experts on Protective Soccer Headgear:

Manufacturer’s claims don’t hold up

The video below chronicles the use of a specific soccer headgear product for girls that claims to reduce the possibility of concussions by 50%. Concussion experts disagree with the claims of the manufacturer and fear that the headgear will give players a false sense of security, causing them to be even more aggressive and put themselves at even more risk for concussions. One doctor suggests that neck strengthening exercises would have more of a positive impact than soccer headgear.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


New Football Helmet Technology

Looking to lower concussion risks

The growing public awareness of brain injury risks tied to football has resulted in  experimenting with the latest  helmet technology in attempts to make the game safer. The major U.S. helmet manufacturers and designers are testing new methods of cushioning blows to the head.

Examples of new technology include:

The Guardian cap   

Model High became one of the first high schools to test a new helmet cover called the Guardian during practices.  The Hanson Group of Alpharetta, Georgia and Protective Sports Equipment developed the unique cap that cushions against helmet-to-helmet blows.  The Guardian fits over the helmet and has 37 gel-filled pouches to protect against concussions.

It’s not yet clear whether local league rules will permit use of the covers during games. In the year before using the Guardian, 10 to 12 kids had to either miss practices or games because of head-injury symptoms.  This year there were none.

Air-filled pads 

Other companies are testing more dramatic changes. Xenith LLC is using air-filled pads rather than foam in their line of helmets.  Riddell frequently checks the padding and design of its equipment for improvements.

Cooling helmets 

Thermocrown, a product being designed by Themopraxis and Schutt Sports, is a bladder that can fit inside a player’s helmet.  In the event of a hard hit to the head,  a source of cooling gas is attached to the bladder to lower the temperature of the head in an attempt to avert damage. Thermocrown is the equivalent of an ice pack, but would allow as much as 4 to 5 hours to transport an injured player to a hospital.

The Bulwark 

Michael Princip’s Bulwark design has several plates on the exterior of the helmet that disperse the impact of hard hits and repeated hits that are a part of the game.

In my opinion:

Helmet technology will need to advance rapidly to reduce the severity and frequency risks of head-to-head contact.  In light of recent concussion fears, the future of the sport will be riding on this new technology in addition to education, further testing, and rule modifications.

Source: Insurance Journal, April 3, 2012