Study suggests brand of helmet unrelated to concussion risk

Posted Monday, August 18, 2014 --- 6:24 p.m.

A new study by UW-Madison researchers suggests the brand and age of a football helmet may not have any affect on concussion risk.

Researchers studied more than 2,000 high school football players in Wisconsin from 2012-2013.

"Helmets do very well with what they're designed to do which is prevent catastrophic injuries, skull fractures... but to date there's really no evidence that any particular brand or model of helmet can significantly reduce the risk of concussion," said lead co-researcher Dr. Alison Brooks, UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Division of Sports Medicine.

The study suggests some helmet's marketing claims may be better at instilling fear in parents than protecting kids.

"For parents, spending the most amount of money you possibly can on the newest, most expensive available helmet... we're not really sure what kind of return you're getting on that investment," Brooks said.

This is one of the first studies of its kind to analyze helmets during real football play, rather than in labs.

Brooks emphasized whatever helmets parents select for their kids, it's important to make sure the helmet fits and is worn properly.

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