Most of the people who use football helmets in the New Orleans area do not play for the New Orleans Saints. Instead, they are elementary, high school and college students. While football is a violent sport, every effort should be made to keep these young people safe. Unfortunately, a recent study by the Cleveland Clinic indicates that modern style football helmets may not be the ideal way to protect youth from head injuries.
The study tested both modern football helmets and the old, leather helmets – used decades ago – to judge their ability to protect the head from low and medium level impacts at a variety of angles. These are the type of hits that commonly occur among young players. The extremely hard hits that may occur at the professional level of play were not tested.
Surprisingly, the study found very little difference between the two styles of helmets. In some cases involving these lower level impacts, the leather helmet actually proved to be more effective at protecting the head.
The researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have indicated that they hope these findings will lead manufacturers to re-examine helmet design for youths. The helmets currently used are essentially scaled-down versions of professional style helmets. They are optimized to protect the head against the extremely hard hits seen at the professional level of play, but do not appear to be as effective at preventing head trauma from the lesser hits experienced by most youth when playing football.
If your child has suffered a head injury and you have any questions, we would be happy to help you. Please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.