Football players take a lot of hits to the head, and those injuries can have serious consequences in the long run. But they could be even worse if they played without helmets.
A company has developed a football headgear that resembles an oversized headband. It doesn’t protect against ball heading or high-speed collisions with other heads but does lessen impacts.
Head injuries from football are a serious concern that has raised questions about the sport’s safety, especially for young players. So how dangerous is football? They can cause traumatic brain injury, or TBI, which results from a blow to the head that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth inside the skull, damaging or stretching cells in the brain. TBIs can lead to memory loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and other symptoms, and they can be life-threatening.
Padded headgear has been developed to protect against football-related concussions, but laboratory testing indicates that it doesn’t reduce the likelihood of a high-impact collision. The lab that rates helmets uses embedded sensors to measure linear and rotational acceleration as two dummy heads are slammed together. Its ratings indicate how much each helmet reduces a head’s acceleration, and the best models have thicker and stiffer foam.
The lab’s initial tests with low-speed volunteer heading and high-speed ball dummy head impact showed that the padded headgear did not reduce the head responses, possibly because of the large deformation in the balls compared to the headband thickness. However, it significantly reduced head responses in head-to-head contact tests. The dummy head-to-head contacts were not enough force to cause a concussion, but they are the type of collision that may occur between players and can lead to a concussion.
Football players without helmets are more likely to sustain concussions than those who wear them. The head is the primary target of injuries in this sport, particularly in tackling players or getting hit with a ball.
The discovery that former American football players can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has dramatically increased awareness of brain injuries and initiatives to protect athletes. Medical professionals, coaches, and parents now realize that repeated blows to the head can lead to long-term consequences. Previously, many players would consider the temporary headache and confusion from a concussion as “just part of the game” and played through it to show their toughness.
Researchers found that bare helmets were more likely to cause a concussion than those fitted with internal padding and face masks. However, the padded helmets were less effective at preventing head impact forces than the unpadded models.
Some argue that football is safer, as rugby does without helmets or with less protective pads. They suggest that the helmets give players a false sense of security and encourage them to put themselves in dangerous situations, such as leading with their heads, to gain an advantage on the field.
While medical research on football has largely focused on brain trauma, there’s another risk the game poses for the heart. A blow to the chest can trigger cardiac arrest, and it’s important to know how to respond if it happens to your child.
When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed from cardiac arrest on the field during a January 2 game, millions watched with dread, wondering if he would survive. But it turned out he did, thanks to the quick reaction of first responders and trainers who restored his heartbeat using CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and an automated external defibrillator.
The condition that caused Hamlin’s cardiac arrest is commotio cordis, which occurs when the rib cage injures a nerve in the heart and causes the heart to misfire, leading to an arrhythmia. It’s rare, but it can happen to anyone. While one study found that former NFL players are five times more likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation than the general population, most players with these symptoms were diagnosed with a heart problem that regular medical checkups could have prevented, researchers say.
The medical definition of an amputation is the surgical removal of a limb or body part. Accidents can also cause amputations. If you have an amputation, you should avoid playing sports with contact or collisions, such as football, that can cause further injury and increased risk of amputation.
Amputations can happen when another teammate tackles a player or gets hit with the ball. The impact can cause damage to the bones, nerves, ligaments, or other soft tissue. It can also lead to blood clots or infection.
Amputations are very common in sports and life. Accidents often cause them and can be prevented by wearing protective equipment. The best protection is a helmet that is designed to absorb the impact. Research conducted by Virginia Tech found that the highest-rated helmets, those with five stars, can reduce concussion risk by up to 70%. They can also prevent fractures and dislocations and help recover after a collision. The most common amputations in sports are injuries to the upper and lower limbs.