Football concussions

by Walter Olson on August 23, 2013

Really, don’t count on helmet designs to change much of anything [Sean Conboy, DeadSpin; Nick Farr, Abnormal Use; earlier]


1 prior probability 08.23.13 at 2:21 am

This is very true, because even if the helmets get better, the players will most likely make harder hits to overcompensate for safer helmets

2 Jim Collins 08.23.13 at 9:32 am

It all comes down to physics. A concussion happens when the brain hits the skull. It all comes down to inertia. There is no way to restrain the brain inside the skull. If somehow they do manage to improve the helmets, look for the number of neck injuries to increase.

3 rxc 08.23.13 at 10:20 am

Jim Collins has the analysis correct – there is nothing you can do outside the head with the helmet or anything else that will protect the brain from hitting the inside of the skull. And Nick Farr sees where this will eventually end up – touch football.

4 Jack Olson 08.23.13 at 3:07 pm

Shouldn’t it be possible to compare injury statistics in ice hockey and bicycle racing, before and after helmets came into common use? If Prior Probability is correct, the introduction of helmets would encourage the roughness of play and therefore the rate of injuries would not decline. If Jim Collins is correct, then head injuries would decline but at the cost of increasing other kinds of injuries.

5 David Eggers 08.23.13 at 3:11 pm

Football hasn’t always been 350 lb sprinters. If they’re really worried about it, they could change the rules some so pro teams look more like college teams.

6 mjs 08.23.13 at 10:02 pm

I have the following layman’s analysis. Helmets that have become so big and heavy are now being used by defenders to cause collisions that actually increase the risk of concussion.

7 Jim Collins 08.25.13 at 10:08 am

I was at the Steelers & Chiefs game last night. One of the Steelers defenders hit the Chiefs’ quarterback right after he let go of the ball. The Steeler was leading with his shoulder and the Chiefs quarterback intentionally lowered his head so that it became helmet to helmet, drawing the penalty. Until that mind set is gone, nothing can be done to improve player safety.

8 Careless 09.01.13 at 3:23 pm

Of course there’s something you could do. It’s a simple matter of physics with an obvious solution. The problem is, no one wants football players with 4′ diameter puff-balls on their heads

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