Football Helmet Standards Insufficient to Protect from Serious Concussions


January 06, 2011

Many parents assume that their child is relatively safe from serious head injuries because of the protection offered by football helmets. Football related collisions have become much more violent with the increase in speed and size of players in youth, high school and college football.

The potentially devastating impact of concussions has received more and more attention as many football players have suffered serious short-term and long-term effects from concussions including impaired memory, depression and other reduced cognitive functions. Over 100,000 high school football players suffer concussions annually with many more never being reported.

Many parents have a false sense of comfort that football helmets are designed to protect against concussions and other head injuries. Unfortunately, football helmets were only designed to prevent skull fractures not concussions, so concussion related football injuries are common. Football players can suffer permanent brain injuries due to the inadequate design and maintenance of football helmets or the failure of coaches and training staff to manage concussion related injuries. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we represent athletes who suffer serious consequences because of defective safety equipment or negligent handling of sports injuries.

A concussion may occur in a football accident when the brain crashes into the inside of the skull through a wide range of forces with some arriving straight to the head and others suddenly rotating it. Concussions usually manifest themselves with symptoms including mental confusion, headaches, disorientation and nausea. Because the helmet industry is not subject to regulation and industry standards are controlled by the companies that manufacture helmets, football helmets continue to offer ineffective protection against football related concussions. Manufacturers of football helmets have decided to focus only on preventing skull fractures while ignoring concussions despite industry awareness of ways to produce helmets that will protect against both types of risks.

Football helmets are not tested or designed for their ability to prevent concussions. The manufacturers of football helmets are also not subject to governmental or other independent regulation regarding concussion safety standards. When the current industry standards for helmets were designed in 1973, there was minimal concern about concussion injuries as there was little general awareness about the serious long-term consequences of concussions. Nonetheless, helmet designs have remained largely unchanged despite a growing awareness that concussions can lead to devastating long-term debilitating effects. The problem is compounded by the fact that most football helmets worn by youth, high school and college players are reconditioned and lack even the few safety standards employed for new helmets. It is not uncommon for companies that recondition used helmets to ignore standard industry testing rules, to conduct the tests incorrectly or to supply helmets that are still in poor condition. It has been estimated that in excess of 100,000 children are wearing helmets too old to provide adequate protection.

A growing number of lawsuits involving football related concussions and other head injuries have focused media attention on the problem. This may motivate coaches, football staff and school districts to insist on safer helmets and more rigorous standards so that our children are safer. If your child has suffered a head injury while playing football, you may be able to seek compensation for your child's injuries. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, is dedicated to providing exceptional legal services to injured Georgians, including those who suffer football related head injuries. Our experienced Georgia traumatic brain injury attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Category: Personal Injury

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