Don’t Trust Helmet Safety Claims, NY Attorney General Warns

helmet_safety_concussion_risksAs professional football season starts, and school and youth leagues are also getting underway, New York Attorney General (AG) Eric T. Schneiderman just issued a warning concerning bogus football helmet safety claims.

Claims that a helmet is “concussion-proof” or is constructed of “anti-concussive” properties could be misleading, the AG said, according to Law360. These claims could mislead parents and could potentially be dangerous to players and their parents, according to Schneiderman who warned manufacturers touting product safety.

“Ensuring that manufacturers don’t mislead the public and endanger young New Yorkers is a key concern for my office,” Schneiderman said in a just-issued release.

It seems that some manufacturers are marketing so-called “aftermarket add-on” products for football helmets that included liners, bumpers, pads, and electronic devices that promise players reduced concussion risks despite, notes Schneiderman, that no data exists to indicate these claims are legitimate for kid players, according to Law360.

“Football helmets were developed to protect against massive head trauma, but unfortunately, we’re seeing more evidence they have not been designed to prevent less immediately catastrophic injuries like concussions,” said Long Island Republican State Senator Kemp Hannon. “Despite some helmets being labeled ‘anti-concussion,’ this isn’t necessarily the case,” Hannon added, wrote Law360.

Senator Hannon was the sponsor of state legislation that went into effect in 2012 mandating coaches, teachers, and other relevant personnel to undergo training on the symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries and the criticality of appropriate medical treatment, explained Law360. The AG also said these personnel should understand how to detect concussion symptoms and any players exhibiting those symptoms should be removed from games until symptoms are resolved. Also, Schneiderman says players should undergo training on techniques that reduce head-to-head contact.

Association executive director Robert Zayas, announced that, “The New York State Public High School Athletic Association fully supports the concussion management law and applauds Attorney General Schneiderman’s attention to this important issue,” Law360 reported. The AG’s warning followed the announcement of the NFL’s proposed $765 million settlement with over 4,000 former professional football players involved in litigation over the way in which the league handled its players’ brain injuries, Law360 noted.

The National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations states that 1.1 million high school students play tackle football and 3.5 million children—ages 6-14—play in youth football leagues. There are 35,600 high school football players in New York State and even more than that in youth leagues, according to Law360.

“It’s important to remember that no helmet can fully prevent a concussion,” Schneiderman said. “Just as important, we must work to educate young athletes and their parents about how to reduce the risk of concussion and detect early warning signs on the field.” Schneiderman’s announcement also noted that “Concussions are often underreported by football players for a variety of reasons. Young players often don’t recognize the signs and symptoms of concussion and consider having ‘their bell rung’ or being ‘dinged’ as an expected consequence of playing the game. Others may not report concussion symptoms because they fear being removed from the game.”


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