Wearing a football helmet is an essential requirement for football players, and they need to wear the helmet at all times in each match. The primary purpose of the helmet is to help protect the players from various potential head injuries they might experience during the match. Aside from that, the football helmet can also serve as a part of the player’s attire to show the identity of their team.
There have been some concerns regarding the football helmet in recent times, even more so with the many instances of brain injuries suffered by ex-football players and the associated effects on their long-term health. Is your football helmet really protecting you? This is the question that you can hear from time to time, whether from the regular football players, the experts, and those who have concerns about the safety of the football players during their match. This guide will try to provide some answers to this question.
The Important Role of Football Helmets
Football matches can go to such an extreme that they can cause various types of head injuries for the players throughout the matches. There will always be risks of bone fractures in the head or various other head-related injuries for the football players. With the possibility of head collisions between the players, which can go as much as causing fatal injuries to the head, the football helmet becomes a necessary gear that football players need to wear at all times during the match.
The basic premise of wearing a football helmet is that it can help minimize the effects of head injuries that the players might experience during the match. The risks of bone fracture in the head and brain injuries are high in each football match, and the helmet will help minimize or even eliminate such risks of head injuries.
The Risks of Head Blows in Football Matches
Head blows are very common in football matches, and during the match, it can happen many times between players. The helmet that the players are wearing, along with the mouth guard, can help prevent any adverse effects of head blows between the players. However, the helmets can only minimize the risks of any head-related injuries that the players might experience during the match.
The football helmet has the padding that suffices to help reduce the impact of any head blows by 25%, and it can also help reduce the instance of concussion by 75%. Thus, the players that wear the football helmet can have even more safety and protection for their head during their matches, although the helmet can’t give them a total protection against various other risks of head injury.
The Basic Features of a Football Helmet
The primary function of a football helmet is to provide the football players with the safety and protection they need during the match. Thus, each football helmet will have basic protection features that ensure the maximum comfort and protection for the players. Here are the basic features of a football helmet:
- The outer shell. The outer shell of a football helmet will allow the wearer to get the maximum protection for any impact. It helps to minimize the head injury and protect the skull from getting fractured during the head blows. The outer shell has a lightweight design and extreme durability to protect each player during the match without weighing them down.
- Padding. This is the soft interior part of the helmet that can provide the player with the best comfort when they wear it. It can minimize the shock upon head impact, and it can also help reduce the concussion of the brain during strong head impact. The padding often comprises many inflatable pockets to help maximize the protection for the player’s head.
- Multi-bar face masks. To protect the front area of the player’s head, the football helmet includes the multi-bar face masks feature designed to protect the facial area upon hard impact. The head blows can come towards the front area of the player’s head, which is the reason multi-bar face masks become an important part of the football helmet. It will also include the mouth guard to protect the teeth from getting damaged by the head blows.
- Chin strap. The chin strap allows the players to adjust the tightness of the football helmet according to their head size. The tighter the chin strap, the better the helmet will protect the player’s head.
Aside from these basic features, a football helmet can also include additional features, such as headset and sensors. The headset will allow the players to communicate with other players during the match, while sensors will help measure the head impact the players have experienced throughout the match and how it might affect the player’s health condition in the long-term.
Can Football Helmet Provide Sufficient Protection from Head Injury?
Football helmet has the primary function of protecting the football players from potential head injuries during the match. However, it cannot provide 100% protection or even guaranteed protection against head injuries, such as concussion. At most, the helmet can provide the reduced potential of head injury during the match by a factor of 75%. Depending on the hardness of the impact, head injuries can still happen, even when the players wear the football helmet with maximum protection.
The most common head injury that can happen during football matches is concussion. This is a brain injury caused by a powerful impact on the head. It causes the brain to hit the walls of the skull during the impact, which can cause the brain itself to get damaged. Frequent concussions can become the starting point for the brain to develop the disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is a serious brain disease that can cause various symptoms depending on the individual. CTE can cause a range of brain-related diseases, such as dementia, memory loss, aggressiveness, and many others, which the players might suffer for long-term.
The Problems with Football Helmet
Despite the safety features offered by the football helmet, there are still risks of severe head injuries, even when the players wear the football helmet during the match. In the field, head injuries can happen from every direction, and accidents can also happen from time to time. Football helmet doesn’t provide a guaranteed protection for such head injuries. Rather, it will only provide the players with the sufficient protection to reduce the effects of potential head blows they might experience during the match. Here are the problems with football helmet:
- The helmet can only protect the bones around the head. The best thing that the football helmet can provide for the player is the protection against bone fractures. For this, the helmet can do an excellent job in protecting the player’s head from bone fractures upon impact, thanks to its outer shell and padding.
- Concussion can still happen while wearing the helmet. The football helmet cannot guarantee safety and protection against concussion, even more so when the players experience a rough impact around the head. The powerful impact might not cause any bone fracture problem, but concussion can happen because of the movements of the brain inside the skull.
- Football helmet loses its effectiveness from time to time. It’s important to understand that the football helmet has its own durability limit, and it will lose its effectiveness in long-term use. Thus, it’s important for football players to replace their helmets every 1-2 years to ensure maximum protection against head blows and potential head injuries.
- The highest-rated helmet won’t guarantee your safety against brain injuries. The NFL football helmets have their own safety ratings, allowing the players to use only the helmets with the standard ratings for safety and protection. However, even with the highest-rated helmet, you can’t guarantee 100% protection against any concussion or brain injury during the strong head blows. It can only minimize the effects of the head blows with its shock absorber function.
- Football helmet can’t prevent you from having long-term brain disease. The more the players get head blows during their matches, the more chance for them to get head injuries that can lead to long-term brain disease. The helmet can’t protect the players from getting the long-term brain disease because of the continuous head blows they experience during their matches.
Conclusion – Football Helmet is Still Necessary
Football helmets are getting their improvements each year, and as time goes by, they become even better at protecting the player’s head from head trauma and injury. Yes, it might not protect the prayers from specific head injuries, such as concussion and the brain disease that follows, but it is still an essential gear the players need to wear during their match. Without the football helmet, the injuries sustained by the players might get even worse.
We can only hope that the technology and science behind the football helmet design and creation can develop in such a way that it can provide much better protection for the players. Combined with the changes in the NFL game rules to support more safety for the players, the technological development behind the football helmet can lessen the instances of head injuries even more for the football players.