It has been repeatedly shown that different types of helmets have a very minimal effect on stopping concussions from occurring, and now a new study shows says the risk of a high school football player suffering a brain injury is also not affected by the age or brand of the helmet.
The study from researchers at University of Wisconsin Madison assessed more than 2,000 high school football players at 34 high schools across the state during 2012 and 2013 play seasons and was published online in the American Journal of Sports medicine.
The findings lead the researchers to say they believe marketing claims made by manufacturers stating that the products are designed to protect young athletes better from concussion risks are more intended to increase sales by assuring parents of their children’s safety.
“It’s understandable why some parents, who already are anxious about their kids playing high school football, may want to buy the newest, most expensive equipment available, hoping it will considerably reduce their child’s risk of injury,” said lead co-investigator Dr. Alison Brooks.
The participants in the study completed a pre-season demographic and injury questionnaire. Then, athletic trainers were tasked with recording sports-related concussions throughout the athletic season.
Only approximately 9 percent of the players involved in the study, or 206 players, suffered concussions related to athletics during the two-year period.
According to the findings, the researchers saw no difference in the rate of concussion relating to helmet brands, age, or reconditioned status. They also observed that custom-fitted mouth guards increased concussion risk by 60 percent compared to generic mouthguards. It was also noted that age, body-mass index, grade in school, or competition level had no effect on concussion risks.
However, the study did find that players who had experienced a concussion during the previous 12 months were nearly twice as likely to sustain another compared to players without a concussion history.
As always it is important to note that these findings are only true for traumatic brain injury. While helmets do not show to have a significant impact on concussion risks, they have been repeatedly found to protect the head from blunt impact damage such as skull fractures.