By now, most people have heard of the dangers of playing football and the high rates of players who suffer from concussions and CTE, even from a young age. While players have used helmets to play football for years, studies are now showing that proper helmet fit and maintenance play an important role in minimizing head injuries for football players. Many players use helmets equipped with an “air-bladder” liner that must be inflated to ensure proper fit. Unfortunately, these air-bladder liners can deflate or be deflated by the players for comfort. This can lead to inadequate head protection during a game.
A recent study examined the link between proper helmet fit and the severity of a concussion. Doctors reviewed 9 years’ worth of concussion injury reports for high school players and analyzed symptoms, duration, and helmet specifics such as fit and interior padding.
The researchers found that players with improperly fitting helmets were more likely to suffer more severe concussions with a longer duration of symptoms. They further found that players who use helmets with “air-bladder” systems suffered more severe concussions than those helmets with a “foam” or “gel” liner.
The researchers concluded that coaches, team physicians, and athletic trainers should mandate superior and maintenance of helmet fit and type throughout the season to ensure players’ safety. Here are some tips on property fitting helmets for player safety:
- Measure Athlete’s Head
Starting at the side of the head, wrap a cloth tape measure around the occipital lobe about 1 inch above the eyebrow to obtain the head circumference. This measurement will help determine the proper size of helmet needed.
- Select Helmet Based on Fit
Determine the best helmet fit based on the head measurements. Several different types of helmets should be available to try on to determine the most comfortable fit. Helmet manufacturers provide instructions on how to fit the helmet appropriately – follow them.
The front rim of the helmet should be one inch above the eyebrow and fit the head snugly. Jaw pads should not touch the ears, only the jaw.
- Adjust Chinstrap
The chinstrap should be fastened last and should not be used to adjust the helmet fit. The purpose of the chinstrap is simply to keep the helmet on the head while playing. The chin cup should be centered on the chin while the front straps are adjusted and buckled and then the rear hook straps are buckled.
- Check for Fit
When the helmet is pulled straight down on the head, the helmet should not come down on the athlete’s nose. The helmet should not spin from side to side when the head is moved but should grip the head tightly. The helmet should also not roll up or down.
For more information on ensuring the proper helmet fit for football players, review this guide for proper helmet fit and safety.
Sports-related injuries such as a concussion can have a devastating impact on a young person’s life. The attorneys at Alexander Law Group are experienced in injury-related litigation. We help clients and their families receive proper compensation for their pain and suffering. You can reach one of our San Francisco personal injury attorneys at 888.777.1776, or you can contact us online.