Football helmet add-ons, including outer soft-shell layers, spray treatments, helmet pads and fiber sheets, may not significantly help lower the risk of concussions in athletes, according to a press release from the American Academy of Neurology.
In a study supported by BRAINS and the Seeing Stars Foundation, researchers used a crash test dummy head and neck to more realistically simulate head impact. Sensors were placed in the dummy’s head to measure linear and angular rotational responses to helmet impacts at 10, 12 and 14 miles per hour.
The researchers evaluated four football helmet add-ons — Guardian Cap, UnEqual Technologies’ concussion reduction technology, Shockstrips and Helmet Glide — within Revolution Speed and Xenith X1 football helmets (Riddell), which were impacted five times from drop heights of 1, 1.5 and 2 meters. The researchers then measured linear acceleration, angular velocity and angular accelerations of the head in response to the impacts. The results were presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting.
Results showed that compared with helmets without the add-ons, those with add-ons reduced linear accelerations by about 11%, but only reduced angular accelerations by 2%. Helmet Glide, a spray treatment, was shown to have no effect in reducing concussion risks, according to the release.