By On February 11th, 2013

Helmets DO Protect Against Brain Injury, Just Not So Much In Football

When discussing football, it has been important to note the questionable effectiveness of helmets in stopping the onslaught of brain injuries for these professional athletes. This has lead to making possibly misleading statements that may make some think that helmets are useless. This is far from the truth.

According to NBC 11 News, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine studied a multitude of reports on head injuries from skiing. In their study, published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, the researchers found that helmets clearly reduce injury. Similar research by Dr. Stuart Levy at St. Anthony Hospital also found that there has been a trend of less head injuries coming from alpine sports. This is because of a huge rise in helmet use for skiers and snowboarders. Over the past 10 years, The National Ski Areas Association claims that the percentage of alpine athletes and recreationalists using helmets has risen from 25 percent to 67 percent.

According to Levy, that increase in helmets has reduced brain injury by 75 to 80 percent, as well as reducing the risk of death. The three most common forms of injuries for skiers have been colliding with trees, falls from more than 10 feet during jumps, and simple falls to the ground. While running into a tree will always be an issue for those gliding down the slopes, the little falls are apparently becoming less dangerous.

While the total number of brain injuries related to downhill alpine activities have been falling, the ratio of the large jump related injuries has been on the rise. Where in the past, only about five percent of brain injuries were from the extreme jumps, recently they have become much more common.

The point is, helmets work, especially in preventing the small brain injuries many often underestimate. In many incidents, such as the story of Sonny Flock, a helmet saves lives. The issue with helmets on a broader sports level is that they are nowhere near strong enough to protect against football players, who have been trained to inhabit as much destructive force as possible. The ineffectiveness of helmets in football isn’t a testament to the uselessness of helmets, it is proof of the extremely high level of danger for contact sports.

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