Millions of sports-related head injuries every year.
Every year in the United States there are more than 3.8 million sports-related concussions. It is virtually impossible to escape the daily news reports about the dangers of permanent brain damage in sports at all levels caused by head trauma. The most concerning fact is that most of these injuries occur in children and young adults whose developing brains are especially susceptible to both concussive and cumulative sub-concussive blows.
In 2011 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) published a report that studied traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) suffered by youths in sports and recreation activities. In this report, the CDC analyzed data collected from 2001 – 2009 by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for youths under 19. The study exposed that the incidence of emergency room visits for TBIs showed an increase of 62% over this period. Approximately 71% of these visits were males between the ages of 10 – 19. The two most common sports associated with emergency room visits and TBIs were football and bicycling. The report highlighted that sports injuries associated with this age group are usually associated with age-related increases in higher-risk contact sports and the increases in participants’ weight and speed, leading to greater momentum and force of impact.
Perhaps the most alarming facts of the study were its limitations. The NEISS-AIP is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the data collected only includes injuries recorded by hospital ERs, excluding youth who sought care in other settings or who did not seek care. The report therefore may have significantly underestimated the actual burden of TBIs among children and adolescents participating in sports and recreation activities.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently reported on CNN that one in every ten high school football players suffer a concussion every season. With recent advances in neuroscience, there is new and growing understanding of the destructive effect to the brain for something as common as “having your bell rung”. Medical experts, government legislators, the legal community, sport’s governing bodies, coaches, and players at every level have brought this issue to the forefront of our society. The need to increase safety before the fact with better technology and equipment, identify injuries sooner, and provide better treatment after-the-fact will be some of the most important topics in sports for years to come.
Current helmets are designed to prevent scull fractures, but these helmets leverage 42-year-old technologies and standards. They were never designed to prevent concussion or head trauma. Newer helmets are better than older ones due to the increase of protective foam on their interiors. The problem is that their hard exteriors do not optimally dissipate energy at the point of impact.
ProTech, the innovative evolution of what was formerly known as ProCap, is made from specialized polyurethane foam that absorbs and dissipates the energy caused by a hit to the ProTech cover. The ProTech acts like an airbag, delaying the timing of the impact just like an airbag delays the time of your body and head from hitting the dashboard when a crash occurs.
3.8 million sports-related concussions are reported each year.
71 percent of TBI ER visits are young men between 10 and 19 years of age.
50 percent of high school football players suffer a concussion every season.