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Video: Football Helmet Airbags Target Concussion Issues

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Nancy Golden
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Re: Contrarian thoughts
Nancy Golden   5/11/2012 10:27:45 AM
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Interesting response, jljarvis, and I think a very valid perspective. The technology can do more harm than good if not implemented properly and is it possible to do so? Very complex project indeed! And while I certainly agree with you that as the doctor says, "If it hurts, don't do it" human nature has proved that it will do otherwise regardless. Just like the multiple discussions we are having about distractions in vehicles. It is a proven fact that texting while driving is engaging in dangerous behavior because of the distraction to the driver - yet it is rampant. Rather than saying - stop texting - companies are looking at ways to make cars "smarter." I see a trend here that just won't go away because people kick up a huge fuss when their toys are threatened...

That said - I truly do hope this technology works and becomes cost effective because I certainly don't advocate not participating in contact sports if they can be made safer. While there are all kinds of reasons one can bring up against football and hockey, there are all kinds of reasons why they are a good thing too. I hope this helmet concept can be developed into a successful marketable product that can also be made affordable.

jljarvis
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Gold
Re: Injury for entertainment
jljarvis   5/11/2012 10:30:20 AM
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Jeff,

As you point out, there is recent evidence that repeated small concussions can produce long term effects.  Those are not addressed by this developer.

If one needed evidence of that, see Mohammed Ali.   

 

Provocative article, though.

NRDW
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Silver
Re: Contrarian thoughts
NRDW   5/11/2012 11:11:19 AM
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I had a similar thought - that these shocks are for play.  But I also have a teenaged son and know that he is going to do dangerous things.  He has already gotten 3 concussions during play.

Not only is there a question about delay but I also have the question as to how does an airbag help?  If a certain amount of shock is going to make the brain hit the bone that is surrounding it, how is padding the outside of that same bone going to protect the brain.  It is not going to stop the impact of the brain on the bone.  I do not see how it will stop the multiple occurances of impact.  I can see how if timed improperly, where it can do more damage than good.

I will commend the attempt to think about the problem, but from my point of view if you want to stop damage you have to stop the impact from transfering to the brain and not react to it afterwards.

Tom_P
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Silver
Helmet Tech
Tom_P   5/11/2012 11:15:23 AM
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I've read many of the medical studies on this type of head injury and long term effects and they are very interesting.  As a former player and little league coach - we've had inflatable padding in helmets for a long time.  NONE of my players had a head injury because I taught them how to hit, how to take a hit and most importantly, NOT to use the helmet/head as a weapon.

A helmet full of airbags has got to be set up for quick replacement of expended padding so I can get the player back in the game which means I have another pile of expensive kit to carry down the sidelines and tools to replace them.

What is needed at all levels of the sport is harsh/severe penalties for using the head/helmet that way. I can't stress this enough - eject the offending player some number of games or for the rest of the season.  At the pro level, suspension plus 10% or 25% of their salary for that year.  The penalty needs to fit the crime.

jhankwitz
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Platinum
Re: Injury for entertainment
jhankwitz   5/11/2012 11:17:56 AM
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I had no idea head trauma caused Parkinson disease.

 

jljarvis
User Rank
Gold
Re: Injury for entertainment
jljarvis   5/11/2012 11:39:50 AM
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Good point.  Not sure that it does, honestly.  but there have been parallels drawn between the effects of repeated small concussions and parkinsons.   Probably only symptomatic similarities.    

Ken E.
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Gold
Taking a hit.
Ken E.   5/11/2012 11:45:55 AM
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While I intuitively prefer the notion of improved passive protection, this is an interesting idea. 

But as always, 'Watch what you wish for.'  Putting on any protective gear actually encourages harder hits, resulting in our current situation; mutiple, repeated concussions with no apparent external injury.

Maybe we should go backwards with the equipment.  Take off all that hard body padding, use a compliant helmet, then bruise and break a few bones now and then, in the process lowering the force of hits and incidence of head trauma.  Those broken bones can take the place of unconciousness, in endless replays.

Another technological alternative, would be to actively measure the force of head trauma in real time, and pull participants from the game the moment they have received some numerical setpoint based on developing injury algorithms.

As long as we let boxers get into the ring, allow hockey players to drop their gloves, continue glorifying the big hit, etc., we really can't pretend we are really concerned about the long term results of head injury in sports.

Just being provocative, as my views on this are mutable and unsophisticated. Athletes are aware of the potentialities, and have to balance risks, vs big paydays.

ChasChas
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Platinum
I don't get it.
ChasChas   5/11/2012 12:50:15 PM
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It seems that a pre-inflated air cushion would work as good or better.

Science says you must lengthen the acceleration/deceleration time to soften the blow - this means that a longer distance is needed between the blow and the head - a thicker cushioned helmet.

What kind of magic is working here?

rickgtoc
User Rank
Gold
Re: Taking a hit.
rickgtoc   5/11/2012 1:04:44 PM
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Similar sentiments.  Encase a player in kevlar body armor, increase his mass and train his muscles to develop devastating power, and he (almost always 'he') will feel invincible.  He will be hurt, or he will hurt others.  I've wondererd myself whether or not we should perhaps take American football back to ligher pads and leather helmets.  The incidence of life-changing injury might be reduced.  And the build of the best athletes in the sport might change to a better compostion for long-term health. Similarly, I've wondered whether or not we might greatly reduce death and injury in motor vehicles by staging the driver's platforrm out on the front bumper - good visibility and VERY exposed.  OK, so we won't do that, but one has to admit that a driver's behavior would be different in that position from what it is when encased in the 4000 lb of steel armor and airbags of a modern SUV.  I know this first hand.  I drive from 'the front bumper position,' more or less, since I commute on my local roads on a bicycle.  And I wear a helmet, although I think its most useful purpose is for the mounting of lights at a height that the SUV drivers can see when they're up close.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Injury for entertainment
NadineJ   5/11/2012 2:29:24 PM
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@jhankwitz: you're correct, head trauma doesn't cause Parkinson's Disease, which is what Mohammed Ali has.  

My mom was a huge sports fan and LOVED the Oakland Raiders the 70's.  That's the era when the Raider Nation was born.  Sports have become progressively more violent, as almost all entertainment has.  Seeing the technology attempt to catch up for the long-term safety of the players is a good step forward but other solutions are needed.


NRDW and others have made good points about solving the problem at the front end, preventing the trauma from reaching the brain.  That can't happen with a new helmet.  That changes in how the games are played.

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