Concussions can be a frequent occurrence in football due to the physical contact nature of the sport. Players tackle one another, and, if hit hard enough, they could face a lot more than a broken spirit. This is because, despite many folks’ belief on the topic, football helmets actually do not prevent concussions.
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Besides their jerseys, one piece of attire that should always be worn when playing football is the helmet. It can help protect the head of the player, but is it enough to prevent them from getting a concussion if tackled hard enough?
While many football players and fans might believe that football helmets can prevent concussions, this is actually quite a misconception within the sport. Helmets can certainly help protect a player’s head and face, however, no manufacturer would be willing to suggest that they might aid in preventing a player from receiving a concussion.
Football Helmets and Concussions: What You Should Know
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is not just a severe bang to the head. In fact, you could receive a severe blow to the head and not receive a concussion. A concussion is more likely to come from a sudden jolt to the head which causes the brain, which is floating in and cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid, to crash against the interior of the skull resulting in what is commonly referred to as Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI.
It doesn’t always have to be a direct hit to the head, either. Blows to the body (such as falling down backwards, sudden whiplash, and more) can also cause a concussion if there is enough force going to a person’s head.
With that in mind, you can see that a helmet cannot possibly stop the brain from bouncing around inside the skull. Put simply, helmets cannot prevent concussions.
In that case, why do footballers wear helmets then?
What Are Helmets Useful For?
While they are not going to stop a concussion from happening, football helmets are still a critical part of playing the game safely. This is because they can still be useful for protection from other potential injuries that a football player could suffer during the course of a game. A good helmet will be able to protect the player from some of the following injuries:
- Skull fractures
- Intracranial bleeding
- Facial cuts
Certainly, helmets are more than useful and should always be worn when doing anything that could involve harm to your head – including playing football or even riding a bike or snow skiing. When it comes to football, helmets are typically rated for safety, and manufacturers design modern helmets to fit players’ heads better than they did in years past.
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A good helmet will be able to reduce the amount of force absorbed by the head, and all players should pay attention to helmet safety ratings when it comes time to purchase a new helmet. A helmet with a high safety rating will provide them with good, solid protection against most head injuries while playing the game.
Football Helmet Safety: Misconceptions
While wearing a football helmet isn’t going to stop a concussion from happening, some players and fans might not know all of the facts. Because of this, there are some misconceptions that surround the ultimate safety of football helmets and how they work to keep players from getting hurt.
Helmets can begin to lose their efficiency as time goes on when it comes to being able to handle force from blows and tackles. For example, a helmet that is a few years old is simply not going to be as effective in absorbing those blows as a brand new helmet would be.
It is also very important for players to make sure they are wearing a helmet that fits them well. It should also be worn with a chin strap, so that it is snug and secure on the head. Some players might even get a bit of a false sense of security while wearing a helmet, leading to more aggressive play on the field.
To make sure players are aware of the limitations of their helmets, they should be made aware of safety ratings and how a helmet isn’t enough to stop a concussion from happening.
The safest way to play is to never lead in with the head. Don’t overestimate the safety provided by the helmet, and employ safe tackling methods in order to avoid serious injuries (including concussions) to other players.
Staying Safe While Having Fun
Football is one of the most-loved pastimes in the United States, providing entertainment to players and fans alike. However, everyone should pay close attention to safety, and never think that they are fully protected from incidents such as concussions simply because they have a protective helmet on their head.
If you play football, make sure you always check the safety ratings of your helmet, wear it properly, and try not to let yourself think that you’re perfectly safe and immune to injury. Play safely, stay aware of the potential for concussions, and do your best to spread the knowledge about helmet safety with all of your fellow players, particularly younger players.