NeuraPeformance Brain Center is concerned with your athlete’s Brian Health and that is why we have the moto “Your Child’s brain is the most important thing to us.” We would like to share with you a research study done at Virginia Tech University School of Bio Engineering and Mechanics. The research study evaluated football and hockey helmets to determine which helmets were the safest for concussion prevention. The study was headed up by Dr. Stefan Duma and it should be noted that this was an unbiased, non-profit research project that received no funding from helmet manufacturers. Helmet ratings are the culmination of 10 years of research.
Helmets are rated from zero to five stars with the safest being five stars. The helmet ratings shows which helmet is best for reducing the possibility of a concussion for the player in that helmet.
5 Stars – Best
4 Stars – Very Good
3 Stars – Good
2 Stars – Adequate
1 Stars – Marginal
0 Stars – Not Recommended
Virginia Techs researchers performed impact testing by reproducing hits to the head coming from different speeds and different heights. This research evaluated the ability of the helmet to reduce linear and rotational acceleration of the head.
31 adult football helmets were tested and the results are listed below.
16 5 stars
9 4 stars
3 3 stars
1 2 stars
1 1 stars
1 0 stars
The best rated football helmet of the helmets receiving 5 stars was the Riddell SpeedFlex, with a price of $399.99. The least expensive helmet in the 5 star category was the Schutt Air SXP Pro VTD which costs $199.99.
Hockey helmets did not score as well as the football helmets.
38 helmets were tested
0 5 stars
0 4 stars
2 3 stars
6 2 stars
17 1 star
13 0 stars
Unfortunately there was not a hockey helmet that received 5 or 4 stars. The best rated helmet was the Bauer RE-AKT 75, costing $119.99, but it still only received 3 stars. The most expensive helmet was the Bauer RE-AKT 100, costing $269.99, but it only had a 1 star rating.
It should be noted that all helmets that are sold satisfy minimum safety requirements, but as you can see through this research study, not all helmets are created equal.
On March 30 2015, Steve Fainain, ESPN senior staff writer, wrote that “More than a quarter of all helmets worn by hockey players from the NHL to youth hockey leagues are unsafe according to an independent study provided to “Outside the Lines.”’ It should be noted that there are 2.4 million hockey players.
Also, as part of this study, the researchers compared the amount of protection the hockey player had on his or her body to the level of protection inside the helmet. They found that the least protected part of the hockey player’s body is the head!
Dr. Alan Ashar, chair of USA Hockey’s Safety & Protective Committee, started the Heads Up, Don’t Duck Program, a program implemented to decrease the risk of players becoming paralyzed from neck injuries. He said that in order to make the game safer, youth hockey officials are trying to reduce helmet to helmet collisions, instruct players to check and skate with their heads up, eliminate fighting, and are working with the idea of creating a warning track (like baseball) to let the player know when they are approaching the boards in an ice rink.
In regards to football helmets, they are 85% as good as they’re going to get, according to Dr. Timothy Goy, a University of Nebraska Physics professor. He said that one can make a helmet concussion proof, “all you need is 15 inches of foam.” The problem would then be, that with all that foam, it would distribute pressure to the neck and cause cervical spine injuries.
We recommend that consumers refer to the Virginia Tech Helmet Rating Study so that all athletes are making an informed decision when purchasing helmets.
If you have any questions about diagnosis and treatment of concussions or your child’s brain health, please feel free to contact us at NeuraPerformance.com. We utilize five types of treatment from Gyrostim, Neurofeedback, Dynavision D2, hyperbaric, and NIR infrared therapy.