Football Helmet Types: Large Differences in Concussion Risk

Steven Rowson, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor Virginia Tech Wake Forest University MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Steven Rowson, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest University

 

A significant difference in concussion risk was found between these two helmet designs Riddell Revolution (left) and the Riddell VSR4 (right). Virginia Tech

A significant difference in concussion risk was found between these two helmet designs Riddell Revolution (left) and the Riddell VSR4 (right).
Virginia Tech

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Rowson: We found that there were large differences in concussion risk between football helmet types. This is the first study to address this question while controlling for the number of times each helmet type was impacted.

This allowed us to compare apples to apples. For example, we’re not comparing starters who frequently get hit in one helmet type to second string players who don’t get hit as much.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Rowson: We expected to find differences in performance between the two helmet
types, but finding over a 50% reduction in concussion risk was a little
surprising.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Rowson: The study illustrates that differences in the ability to reduce concussion
risk between helmet types exist. Clinicians and patients should be
cognizant of which helmets are being used, and identify whether there is
a need for better head protection.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Rowson: We only investigated two helmet types in this first study. Future work
should consider all helmet types, but with that said, it is critical that
future studies control for the number of times each helmet is impacted. If
the study can’t control for the exposure to impact of each helmet type, it
will be difficult to draw meaningful conclusions.

Citation

Can helmet design reduce the risk of concussion in football?

Steven Rowson, Ph.D., Stefan M. Duma, Ph.D., Richard M. Greenwald, Ph.D., Jonathan G. Beckwith, M.S., Jeffrey J. Chu, M.S., Kevin M. Guskiewicz, Ph.D., Jason P. Mihalik, Ph.D., Joseph J. Crisco, Ph.D., Bethany J. Wilcox, B.S., Thomas W. McAllister, M.D., Arthur C. Maerlender, Ph.D., Steven P. Broglio, Ph.D., Brock Schnebel, M.D., Scott Anderson, B.S., and P. Gunnar Brolinson, D.O.