If you have ever shopped for football equipment, you are probably aware that many companies sell products that claim to reduce the risk of concussions. The Daily Press had an article in its October 20th issue that indicated these products may not be as effective as their manufacturers say in reducing concussions. Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher is the chair of the American Academy of Neurology's sports section went so far as to assert in a Senate hearing that there is no piece of equipment that can significantly prevent concussions.
The problem is that there is no standardized way to measure the credence of the marketing claims, so Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate these "concussion reducing" claims of equipment companies like Riddell, who makes the official helmet of the NFL. While some claims have said these new helmets can reduce concussions by 31%, there have been multiple media reports that Riddell misrepresented research that actually showed a 2.6% reduction in concussions.
There have been many football stars who have suffered from multiple concussions. Dave Duerson played on two Super Bowl winning teams, but football had taken such a toll on his brain that he took his own life in mid-February 2011. There is increasing evidence that football players are at a greater risk to suffer from a brain wasting condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. While it would be great for there to be a helmet that could effectively reduce concussions, many experts simply do not believe they exist.
As a lawyer who has represented victims of concussions and traumatic brain injuries in court, I have seen firsthand how debilitating those types of trauma can be. The good news is that many youth football leagues are taking steps to reduce these possibly traumatic injuries by implementing rules that prohibit head-to-head contact.