The danger of brain injury from sports has become household news. In response, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab recently released youth helmet ratings for the first time.
In the last decade, professional sports leagues have come under fire after findings repeatedly showed the danger of hits to the head in adult sports including football, hockey, baseball, and soccer. Researchers are finding professional athletes, young adults, and children may be at higher risk for neurological diseases like Parkinson’s Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Amid an uptick in research that suggests even one concussion may cause lasting neurological damage, fewer parents are choosing to enroll their children in youth and high school football programs. For parents who still opt in for youth football programs, worry abounds.
In response, youth leagues are altering practice and game rules to reduce the number of head injuries and concussions. Mindful that even one sub-concussive head hit could lead to a lifetime of borderline neurological and emotional dysfunction, school districts are deploying more rigorous concussion protocols.
Beyond that, scrutiny of protective equipment has intensified, as consumers seek to make smart decisions about protecting the brain and future of their children. In March of this year, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab released first-time ratings of youth football helmets to enable parents and coaches to make better decisions on behalf of players.
While hits to the head—and brain—of any person are dangerous, the brain of a child has not yet fully developed. A concussion in childhood or high school can traumatically or quietly derail a lifetime of potential. Because of the risk, the Helmet Lab has been evaluating football helmets for varsity players since 2011.
The new ratings are intended to address the needs of youth players, defined as athletes under the age of 14. Dr. Steve Rowson, who is the director of the Helmet Lab along with his duties as a biomedical engineer, notes, “Kids aren’t just scaled-down adults. Their heads are larger relative to their necks; their necks are weaker; and their brains are still developing.”
He continues, “For the first time we’ve adapted the way we evaluate helmets in the lab to be youth-specific. Now, players, parents, leagues, and coaches have access to independent data about which helmets offer the best protection, and they can use the ratings as a tool to make informed decisions.”
Brain injury on a high school sports field—is always serious. If your child plays football or other impact sport, be sure to get good protective gear—and good medical care if needed.
If you suffer brain injury, our law firm can help
With offices in Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, DC, the law firm of Schochor, Staton, Goldberg, and Cardea, P.A. is well known for its compassionate, successful legal representation on behalf of those who suffer medical injury or wrongful death. If you or a loved one has suffered brain injury or significant medical harm, contact us today or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation.