Home » C.J. Abraham » MomsTEAM Speaks With Dr. C. J. Abraham, Inventor of Universal Forcefield FF Protective Headband

MomsTEAM Speaks With Dr. C. J. Abraham, Inventor of Universal Forcefield FF Protective Headband

MomsTEAM recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. C. J. Abraham, the inventor of the Universal Forcefield Protective Headband.

Dr. Abraham is a licensed professional engineer, a Board-Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering, a Fellow in the Textile Institute, and has over 45 years of experience in formulating and testing polymers. In addition, he has over 50 patents and is responsible for making many products safer for children and adults. He is the founder of Forcefield FF (NA) Ltd, and he has over 40 years of experience in evaluating head and brain protection for every sport and recreational activity involving children and adults.

Here is that interview:

MomsTEAM: Dr. Abraham, we often receive questions from sports parents as to whether headgear has benefits in reducing the effective impact force to the head and brain in the sport of soccer. Would you be kind enough to comment on that subject?

Dr Abraham: Although concussions in sports have been a subject of concern for many decades, sub-concussive and concussive injuries in contact and collision sports have only recently generated media attention and become a major concern for both children and adults.

Forcefield Protective Headband

In spite of the fact that there may be a question about the value of protective headgear in soccer, the question is whether the use of headgear reduces the risk of concussions. Its value in protecting the head and brain have been answered by a number of studies, including, but not limited to one by Scott Delaney, MD of McGill University. His research and studies have documented that soccer players twice as likely to sustain concussions without protective headgear than those use protective headgear.   

It should be noted that there is no headgear in the world for any sport or recreational activity that can eliminate subconcussive and concussive brain injuries. The only statement that can be made by any manufacturer of protective headgear is that their headgear can significantly reduce the effective impact to an individual's head and brain and nothing more.

It is my opinion that it is incorrect to differentiate the use of head gear for soccer versus, for example, a collision sport such as football. The brain is the most valuable organ in a human being. "Your Body is Nothing Without a Brain," is the title of a peer reviewed paper I authored that was published and read by over 10 thousand people a year.

The brain being the most valuable organ in our body, it is my opinion that every parent and coach of every sport has a non-delegable duty to protect each of their players to the best of their ability. Furthermore, they have the responsibility to look after the safety and welfare of everyone on their team at all times.

MomsTEAM: What happens when you receive phone calls from parents or coaches after their child is examined by a medical practitioner, psychologist or psychiatrist and allowed to go back into the game if they wear your protective headbands?

Dr. Abraham: I receive many phone calls and emails each month from parents and some coaches where young children have received concussions and they are under the impression that headgear will protect the injured child when they receive permission to go back in and participate in the sport in which they were injured. In most cases, they received permission by psychologists, psychiatrists, and medical practitioners using the ImPACT Test which, in my opinion is known to make many mistakes in allowing players back into the game while they are still injured.  

If a parent calls, I make it a practice to stop what I'm doing and take the time to explain, based on the information the parent submits to me regarding their child, that their son or daughter is not completely healed and explain what can happen to their child if they receive another concussion at a much lower impact force than the one that caused the original concussion. In addition, I place them on notice that I will not sell them a Forcefield product because I will not be responsible for any further injury. If they go ahead and purchase the headgear on the Internet, they receive a personal form letter from me placing them on notice what they will be exposing their children to if they allow them to participate before they are completely healed and tested by an experienced medical professional instead of the individuals who previously gave their children permission to go back and participate in the game.

MomsTEAM: What is the Forcefield FFTM Protective Sweatband?

Dr Abraham: The Universal Protective Sweatband/Headband/Headgear is a multi-patented, lightweight, ventilated, and adjustable headband which combines the characteristics of an ordinary sweatband and incorporates the technology of protective helmets resulting in reducing the severity of the impact force to the head and brain up to 80% for young children up to 5 years old and over 50% for older children and adults. It is recognized as the Universal Headband with over 20 applications. There is no other headband in the world that can make that claim. It can also absorb well over 100% of water or perspiration relative to the weight of the headband. The latter property is much greater than that of an ordinary sweatband.

MomsTEAM: Are there standards, that ForcefieldTM headbands have to meet in order to be endorsed by agencies in the United States, Canada and Europe?

Dr Abraham: Yes. To mention just a few, Forcefield was awarded the CE Mark in Europe designating the Forcefield headband as "Protective Headband" after 6 months of rigorous independent testing in Europe. We are the only manufacturer to receive that recognition.

Our product is approved in Canada for curling, soccer, figure skating over level 5, basketball and cheerleading. In addition, our Canadian distributor is registered and approved as a vendor for the government of Canada as well as a supplier to the Health Departments in all of the provinces for a number of medical applications.

In Europe, Forcefield's Universal Headbands are approved and used in soccer, figure skating and all contact school sports. Forcefield is the leading provider of protective headbands throughout Europe.

In the United States, the Forcefield Universal products have been the leading provider of protective headgear for contact sports, including cheerleading in schools, leagues and many other applications. The popularity and acceptance throughout the United States speaks volumes regarding any of the standards.

MomsTEAM: There are a number of competitors that also sell headgear for the sport of soccer. What are the differences, if any, that you can distinguish between your approach and philosophy versus theirs?

Dr. Abraham: Forcefield is the only manufacturer of headgear that has its own employees in China overseeing and managing the manufacturer of their products and subcontractors in China, Taiwan and Cambodia.  To insure quality control, all of our products are tested prior to their shipment to the United States and, upon receipt, samples from each lot are again evaluated.

In addition, we are the only manufacturer that has not requested or received the backing, involving millions of dollars, from investors. I am the only investor in Forcefield and do not have to answer to investors, who expect each of their respective companies to provide profits and dividends. As a result, I have made the choice to sell our product at a price that every segment of our population can afford. In many instances, I have found that many leagues in various parts of the country cannot afford to purchase protective headbands for the young soccer players participating in their league at any cost.

MomsTEAM: With reference to the fact that the brain is the most important organ in a child, are there any facts that you have discovered with reference to any of those leagues with thousands of children participating?

Dr. Abraham: In the past, I have been a guest speaker at a number of conventions involving coaches and others involving directors associated with the leagues as well as the coaches of the teams.

I observed the leagues spending tens of thousands of dollars for an expense-free trip to various gambling and vacation locations for the volunteers associated with their leagues. I received more inquiries after my presentations from individuals attending my lecture.  When each of those individuals are called with reference to potential purchase and use of the Forcefield product line, the majority stated that they had no interest in protecting their players and the remaining stated that their team or league did not provide funds for headgear. Many of the team coaches stated that the participants were too poor to afford any type of protective headgear.

MomsTEAM: What have you concluded from those experiences?

Dr. Abraham: What I observed when I had a booth at a number of conventions was that the parents and their children were more interested in the type of uniforms and outfits that were selling at the convention than protection of children's brains.

In addition, what was also disappointing, but predictable, was that most of the coaches were more interested in winning than the safety and welfare of their players and their maturing brains.

The tens of thousands of dollars that were used for fancy and expensive conventions could have been much better spent for the protection of the children's heads and brains.

What is most interesting is that many schools and leagues can't afford the Forcefield headgear which is sold at a fraction of the price of any of the competitors, so how do the competitors continue to exist if it weren't for the millions of dollars they received from investors?

MomsTEAM: Are there any other comments relating to some of the competitors about their headgear?

Dr. Abraham: The government does not allow any manufacturer of headgear to claim that their headgear reduces/eliminates concussions. In spite of that fact, the public is exposed to statements made by a few of the other manufacturers such as:

  • Stay in the game
  • Concussion headgear
  • I have been wearing... for 6 years because of how many concussions I suffered prior to wearing it. (On the Brian Williams show a few years ago, a female soccer player received 6 or more concussions wearing the same headgear)
  • Reduce the Risk of Concussions
  • Clinically rated as the #1 soccer head guard by Virginia Tech with an estimated 84% in risk of concussions.
  • We use bulletproof Polythene which is 40% stronger than Kevlar.
  • Our product was placed in the helmet of soldiers exposed to explosions in order to reduce the impact to their brain.
  • Wear our headgear and play harder.  The same manufacturer of headgear that claims it uses a bullet proof polymer in their headgear also claims they had a peer-reviewed study from Tufts Medical Center. 

MomsTEAM: Can you please comment on the prior statements you made?

Dr. Abraham: The New York Times had an exposé about one of the manufacturers of soccer headgear paying athletic directors and soccer coaches in schools and soccer coaches in leagues, if they used their headgear. They also paid professional players every time they wore their headgear while participating in their game.

I have a paid staff in the United States that coordinate and run the daily operations of our distributors in Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. I handle the technical aspects, improving our products and the development of new products. My main income is derived from my consulting practice, not Forcefield. With respect to my consulting, I cannot risk tainting myself or Forcefield with comments that hype any part of our product line.

We have never induced any potential customer to wear our product. In spite of that, we are in approximately 600 to 700 sport stores around the world.

As one can observe on our website, we have been endorsed and recognized by medical specialists, coaches, schools, chiropractors, pediatricians and recognized scientists involved with head and brain injuries. In addition, after six months of rigorous independent testing, the Forcefield headband qualified for the CEII Mark in Europe designating our products as "Protective Headbands," a designation required for distribution in Europe, Canada, the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand. Not one other competitor has a CE Mark. In addition, the competitor's products can only absorb a small fraction of the perspiration in comparison to our Universal Headbands.

Furthermore, the testing of our product line in the real world against the competitors demonstrated that there is no headband sold in the United States for the sport of soccer that eliminates concussions or can claim that their products reduce concussions by 84%. No one has performed any epidemiology study verifying that claim. A manufacturer would have to follow every sale made of their product, follow every impact to each of the player's heads and brains, determine whether any of the impacts produced a subconcussive brain injury or a possible concussion which creates an impossibility for anyone to make that claim.

Anyone making a claim that the introduction of some of the headgear added to the top or any part of a soldier's helmet will reduce the effect of an explosion (shockwave) to their brain demonstrates that they know nothing about how an explosive shockwave impacts the brain of a soldier. In fact, a recent demonstration on 60 Minutes proves that the shockwave of an explosion affects the brain as a whole and no protection can prevent or reduce that effect.

There are a number of factors that are involved with any young person receiving a concussion, whether they are male or female. What we do know is females are more prone to receiving a subconcussive or concussive brain injury than their male counterparts. That fact relates to the neck and back muscles as well as the mass of the male in comparison to the female. We also know that the DNA of individuals is also a factor. Therefore, one must take into account all of those variables when making or predicting the outcome of wearing any of the headgear. Other variables include soft versus hard impacts.

Another fact that is important to the players is that, because of the nature of the sport, soccer players do not want to appear to wear protection that looks like a partial helmet. That is one of the reasons that our headgear has been extremely popular. Not only does the Forcefield Universal Headband look and act like a sweatband, but it also behaves like protective headgear.

Furthermore, Forcefield also places custom logos of schools, leagues, teams and corporations permanently on their headgear. Not only does it come in 8 colors, but we are capable of producing headgear in any color. The competitors do not have that capability.

Lastly, if one takes apart a few of the competitor's headgear and examines the polymer that is used, it is highly questionable whether the polymer does the actual protection or the design of the external part of the headgear performs that function. I examined the internal part of the headgear and question the claims that the other manufacturers make. The foam inside one of the manufacturers headgear would not be capable of absorbing and dissipating impact force without the external design of the cover. The other manufacturer's claims relating to the polymer being used does not correlate to the patent being manufactured by the major corporation they claimed they relied on.

MomsTEAM: We know that FIFA does not approve or endorse any headgear, but they do have requirements where all of the parts making up the headgear must be in accordance with their written directive Law 4 The Player's Equipment. Does a Universal Forcefield Protective Headband meet those requirements?

Dr Abraham: A player may use equipment other than the basic equipment when its sole purpose is to protect the player physically and poses no danger to the wearer or any of the other players. The headgear must be made of soft, lightweight padded material that is not considered dangerous.

It is also my understanding that every part of the headband or headgear must be malleable and be able to deform on impact and return to its original position immediately after receiving the impact. With reference to the Forcefield Universal product line, every part of the design is malleable and returns to its original position immediately after the impact. In contrast, if you take any of the competitors' headgear, the cover and design, especially any type of ribbing, has a significant effect on the impact. The external part of the ribbing is not malleable and does not deform in relationship to the Forcefield design.  

MomsTEAM: Even with governing bodies like FIFA and US soccer sanctioning soft protective headgear in soccer, the soccer-playing community has been slow to accept and implement the equipment on a wide scale. Why do you think that is?

Dr. Abraham: Safety is the hardest concept to sell. In ‘macho' sports, even with women playing, they don't like to look like they're wearing a helmet or protective headgear. My hope is that protective headwear will eventually become as common on a soccer field as cleats and shin guards.

MomsTEAM: Do you have any opinions regarding subconcussive brain injuries?

Dr. Abraham: In one of my presentations going back to 2004, I discussed subconcussive brain injuries that were evaluated and recognized many years ago by pathologists in Europe studying the brains of soccer players who are known to head the ball frequently. Their reports indicated a full concussive brain disease as well as subconcussive brain injuries.

It is my opinion that one does not require a number of impacts to receive a subconcussive brain injury, especially a young child or teenager with a brain that has not fully matured. We do know that subconcussive brain injuries are asymptomatic and cumulative. A young child can receive a number of subconcussive brain injuries and wind up with a full concussion by receiving an impact well below that of a full concussive impact. We also know that individuals, based on their DNA and a few other factors, can receive a full concussion well below the predicted average impact force.

Due to the fact that subconcussive brain injuries are asymptomatic, it is my opinion they are more dangerous than a diagnosed concussion.   The reason is that if the brain doesn't resolve itself to its normal level and the chemistry of the brain is similar to that of a concussion, constant exacerbation of the preexisting condition can cause continuous deterioration of the brain. That fact alone renders the subconcussive brain injuries more dangerous than a full concussion.

There is no helmet in the world, including any soccer headgear that can prevent subconcussive brain injuries.

With reference to any type of brain injury, I value the brains of young children in many instances more than many parents. I have many parents calling me wanting to use our headgear so that their children can get back into the game as fast as possible using our headgear or anyone else's to prevent any further traumatic brain injury. Its hard to explain to parents that any further injury to their child's brain could result in having their children living with them for the rest of their lives. Furthermore, the risk of neurological deficits when their child reaches the age of 35 to 40 is highly probable.

That opinion is based upon the past and current reports of individuals in sports who have reached that age and experience neurological deficits that affect their quality of life forever. I question whether a contact or collision sport is worth the risk. With that philosophy it is difficult to believe that I am in the business of manufacturing and placing in  the stream of commerce Universal Headgear that is used for contact sports.

MomsTEAM: Doesn't wearing a soccer headband lead to more aggressive play?

Dr. Abraham: The 2008 McGill study does conclude that the headband did not encourage more aggressive play in the athletes studied. In other words, wearing headgear did not encourage soccer players to play more aggressively.

However, one of the other manufacturers of headbands for soccer claims that, if you use their headgear, you can play harder. 

MomsTEAM: What are some of the advantages of the Universal Forcefield Headband over its competitors?

Dr. Abraham: The Universal Forcefield Headband has a number of advantages. Among them are the following:

  1. More absorbent: The headbands of our competitors absorb only a small fraction of the perspiration that the Forcefield headbands absorb and dissipate.
  2. On really hot days, it can be placed under cold water and put it back on for cooling.
  3. It can be easily washed just by placing it under a faucet of warm water and hand soap and left to air dry.
  4. More comfortable and looks just like a sweatband: The Universal Forcefield Headband looks and feels exactly like a sweatband and acts just like a sweatband by absorbing perspiration well over 100% of its weight.
  5. It also absorbs and dissipates impact forces: In addition to absorbing more perspiration than an ordinary sweatband, the headband also absorbs and dissipates up to 80% of the impact force for toddlers and young children up to 5 years of age and over 50% for older children and adults.
  6. Less expensive: Our headband costs a fraction of the price of any competitor.
  7. Forcefield has no investors to answer to. We are not concerned about hyping our product line. It speaks volumes for itself and is endorsed by medical specialists, chiropractors, coaches, athletic directors, and scientists experienced in head and brain injuries.
  8. More versatile than any other headgear: The Universal Forcefield Protective Sweatband/Headband/Headgear has over 20 applications. Most of those other uses  are not related to any contact sports. The competitors have directed and designed their products to be used specifically for soccer.  It is questionable that with their overhead, that they will continue to exist after their investors' funding dissipates.

MomsTEAM: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Dr. Abraham.

Dr. Abraham: You are welcome. It was my pleasure.