Technologically advanced helmets are helping to reduce the number of high school athletes that suffer concussions on the field. In 2012, it was estimated that high school athletes suffered nearly 300,000 concussions. Nationwide, it is estimated that concussions account for 15% of total high school athletic injuries. Approximately 33% of these injuries occur during practice while the remaining 67% occur during game play. For children and young adults between the ages of 15-24, sports are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. High school athletic programs are working to stem the tide of concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injury by introducing high-tech helmets, trained coaches, and on-site medical teams to protect players from the bumps and blows of athletic competition.
How the High-Tech Helmets Work
Helmets produced by Riddel are equipped with five sensors within the helmet that record the blows players take during football. The sensors record the location and force of the impact which makes it possible for coaches to determine when it is time to take a player out of the game and in for a medical check-up. The system is connected to a hand-held pager that the coach can monitor in real-time. When a player takes a “hard knock” the sensors send an alert if either a single impact or a combination of multiple impacts registers in excess of the 95th percentile of a serious blow.
While the helmets are strong and sturdy, they won’t prevent a concussion. Rather, they prevent the player from continuing play and potentially leading to a more serious brain injury. Coupled with staff trained to identify symptoms of concussions that include forgetting instructions, appearing dazed/confused, loss of consciousness, etc., the new helmets could prove to be a game changer in reducing high school athletic injuries.
The helmets cost between $325-$410 which may seem significant. The reality is that it is an insignificant expense when compared to the cost of treating concussions and traumatic brain injuries. In fact, many personal injury settlements reached by personal injury lawyers can be significantly higher, with the cost of treating injuries alone ranging between $85,000 and $3.5 million over the course of a lifetime. Thus, these technologically superior helmets are a small investment that pays big dividends towards protecting the long-term health and finances of players.