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Schutt Helmets' CEO Blasts New Virginia Tech Helmet Study

A 2014 study (Rowson S, Duma S, et al 2014) reporting that football helmet design can reduce concussion risk has prompted criticism from some of the football helmet manufacturers whose helmets were not involved in the study. In the interest of accurate and complete reporting on the study, set out below is the full text of an email dated February 10, 2014 from Rob Erb, Chief Executive Officer of Schutt Helmets.

Study Showing Helmet Design Can Reduce Concussion Risk Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

A new study provides the first good clinical evidence that helmet design can lower the risk of concussion in games and practices but leaves unanswered the practical question faced by football parents, coaches, and administrators: whether a difference in concussion risk reduction exists between currently available helmet models incorporating the latest design features.

NOCSAE Ruling On Helmet Sensors Generates Controversy

The July 2013 decision by NOCSAE that modification of helmets with third-party after-market add-ons, absent retesting and recertification as configured, renders the certification void may be necessary to protect the integrity of its helmet standard, but at the cost of depriving athletes of cutting-edge concussion safety products.

NOCSAE and Helmet Sensors: An Ounce Of Prevention

There is still confusion about the recent position, or should I say positions, taken by NOCSAE over the past month, first deciding that the certification of any helmet with a third-party add-on would be viewed as automatically void, then, this past week, making a 180-degree U-turn and leaving it up to the helmet manufacturers to decide whether affixing impact sensors to the inside or outside of a helmet voided the certification.  Unless you read my article on NOCSAE's original decision and Lindsay Barton's this past week on its clarification, and perhaps even if you did, you are probably scratching your head and wondering what the heck is going on!

Well, I am scratching my head, too.

With all the controversy surrounding NOCSAE's recent rulings on the effect of third-party add-ons on helmet certification, what Brooke de Lench and others are wondering is why NOCSAE isn't asking the helmet manufacturers to explain to them and the rest of us how a 2-ounce piece of plastic stuck to a 4+ pound football helmet has them so worried?  Whether the NOCSAE rulings were intended to put the brakes on the market for helmet sensors to give the helmet manufacturers time to catch up, it is hard to see how it won't have exactly that effect, she says.

NOCSAE Voiding of Certification For Sensor-Equipped Helmets: A Big Blow To Player Safety

Last week many of the technology manufacturers who have been working diligently to produce products to make helmeted sports such as football safer were dealt a severe, if not crippling, blow by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) when, out of the blue, it decided to view modification of helmets with third-party after-market add-ons as voiding its certification, which could only be regained if the helmet is retested with the add-on. Newcastle Racers wearing three different football helmets

Brooke de Lench believes that the new NOCSAE ruling voiding the certification for sensor-equipped helmets could not have come at a worse time, just as football - from the youth level to the NFL - is gearing up for the 2012 season. If not reversed or modified, de Lench fears that it will have harsh real-world consequences; not just on sensor manufacturers but on player safety and consumer choice.

Type or Age of Helmet Does Not Affect Concussion Risk, Research Paper Finds

The risk of sustaining a concussion in high school football is not effected by the brand or age of the helmet or by the type of mouth guard worn, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin.

TGen and Riddell To Partner In Biomarker Study of Concussive Injuries

In a move that could help revolutionize football player safety, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and Riddell have announced plans for a joint research study designed to advance athlete concussion detection and treatment, guide development of new football headgear and further refine updates to player monitoring technology.

Impact Sensors: Riddell InSite Impact Response System

The Riddell InSite Impact Response System is a new integrated monitoring and alerting tool designed specifically for the proactive protection of football players based on its Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) and Sideline Response System (SRS) which have analyzed nearly 1.8+ million impacts since 2003.

Heads Up: Recent Developments in Sports Safety

Three hot topics are on my mind today: wearable technology, head impact sensors, and football helmets.

Wearable technology

During the past year, I have been invited many times to participate in conversations about wearable technology for athletes. With our headquarters close to the hotbeds of technology centers of MIT and Harvard, I am often asked to sit in on meetings to provide my insight.

What I know is that this is a rapidly-developing field in which we are going to see some amazing technological advances in the next decade.

Three hot topics are on my mind today: wearable technology, head impact sensors, and football helmets.
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