As we’ve discussed before, a history of having a lot of concussions can not only affect your quality of living years down the road, but it can hurt your draft stock, as well.

So me being the nerd that I am, I decided to read up on how to reduce your chances of getting a concussion.

Today, I’ll be sharing the things I personally learned from the articles.

By the way, it’s a must that I mention that I’m not a doctor, and I have absolutely no expertise in the medical field.  Therefore, I do not personally back any of the research or claims made.

I’m just taking the information as being true, as it all seems to come from some very credible sources.

Detroit Lions’ running back Jahvid Best had to miss most of the 2011 season after suffering two concussions over a two month span. (ICON Sports)

With that out of the way, let’s get started, shall we?

Lesson #1: Mouthguards Don’t Help

 

Not sure if you knew this, but there are companies that make mouthguards that claim that they’ll help reduce your risk of concussion.

In Can mouthguards and football helmets really prevent concussion?, Jason Mihalek, an expert in the field of biomechanics states that there’s no medical proof that mouthguards can prevent concussions.

 

Lesson #2: Eating Right Can Help

 

In the same article, Michael Bergeron, Director of Sanford Health’s National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance says that eating a well-balanced diet can help build the body’s ability to fight off brain injuries, and can also provide the nutrients the brain needs to recover from traumatic brain events.

>>Related: Football Offseason Workout – What Every Player Should Know About Eating Right – Part 1

>>Related: What Every Serious Football Player Should Know About Protein – Part One

 

Lesson #3: The Kind of Helmet You Wear Matters

 

While reading the Virginia Tech Announces Football Helmet Ratings… article, I learned that Virginia Tech conducted a study on which helmets protect the brain the best from concussions.

They found that Riddell Revolution Speed helmet was the best.

Other helmets that rated out well, and just below the Riddell Revolution Speed were the Xenith X1, the Schutt DNA Pro+, the Schutt ION 4D, and the Riddell Revolution IQ.

According to Stefan Duma, a Biomedical Engineering professor at Virginia Tech, even if you can’t get one of the helmets mentioned above, any of the newer helmets protect against concussions better than older model helmets:

The results clearly show that the newer technologies across all manufacturers are significantly better at reducing the risk of concussions compared to the older models.

The importance of having a quality helmet shouldn’t be underestimated.  For example, Duma mentioned that you can actually reduce your risk of concussion by over 50% by switching from the Riddell VSR4 to the Xenith X1.

In the Virginia Tech article, Duma said they found that a lot of the Virginia Tech players were still using VSR4’s, so based on the findings from the study, they had all players using VSR4’s switch to the Revolution Speed helmets.

By the way, there are some helmets that you want to make sure you’re not wearing, like the Adams A2000 Pro Elite.  After the Virginia Tech study, the Adams A2000 Pro Elite was given a “NR” (not recommended) rating.

Be aware that price doesn’t necessarily reflect the effectiveness of the helmet in protecting against concussions.  One of the cheapest helmets, the Schutt DNA Pro + got a 4-star rating (out of possible 5) had a cost of $169.95, while one of the helmets that they labelled “NR” was more expensive, at $199.

Check out the below video from a news story on the Virginia Tech study on helmet/concussion safety:

 

Lesson #4: Properly Treating a Concussion Reduces Risk of Subsequent Concussions

 

I was always under the impression that you want to treat a concussion properly to help make sure that your brain heals properly after a concussion.

I had no idea that doing so can actually reduce your risks of getting one again down the line.

According to the Prevention page on the Mission of the Wisconsin Sports Concussion Collaborative website, taking proper care of a concussion can help reduce your risk of additional concussions down the line.

Check out part one of Real Sports 2007 report on concussions below:

Check back soon for part two!

Has the football team you support or play for checked to make sure they’re not using the helmets rated low in the Virginia Tech study?  Leave a comment below!

Catch me on Twitter!  @alvingrier

 

References:

Can mouthguards and football helmets really prevent concussion?
Helmet Safety Starts with a Proper Fit

Head Injuries: How to Reduce Concussion Risk

Virginia Tech Announces Football Helmet Ratings for Reducing Concussion Risk

Tips to Help reduce the Occurence of Concussion 

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