geldefender® Blog

  • NFL vet uses martial arts skills to make football safer

    Prevention, diagnosis, treatment – the three primary areas we’re advancing in answer to the concussion problem. But that model of concussion research is not a triangle; it’s a timeline. If the first step in the process succeeds, then the second and third become unnecessary. Prevention is always the best outcome.

     

    That is the idea upon which former NFL offensive lineman Scott Peters has built his current career. He teaches football players to incorporate jiujitsu principles into their game, giving them more power when they hit and, more importantly, taking their heads out of the equation entirely.

     

     

    He realized the potential in the idea when, after his one season as the University of Washington football team’s strength and conditioning coach, his methods led to both the best rushing season in the school’s history and also absolutely no concussions in anyone on the roster.

     

    Now he trains teams on every level in Safe Football, his program for better and safer play using hands, not heads, to hit. Changing players’ style of play has been and will continue to be an uphill battle. In the past, players have felt as though they had to choose: protecting their heads or playing to their fullest abilities. And players who have been playing for years already have bad habits ingrained in them.

     

    A system that improves both head safety and effectiveness on the field could be a literal game-changer if coaches and players embrace it. Even if some have to relearn skills that have been ingrained in them for most of their lives, the benefits to be reaped are worth the work.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Psychological scars linger after combat concussions, study says

    Symptoms from a wartime TBI can be both long-lasting and shifting, new research suggests.

     

    It’s been well-established that concussions and other brain trauma have lingering and serious effects. But a new study discovered a change over time in the symptoms soldiers experience after head injuries from exposure to explosive devices. Cognitive symptoms seem to mostly resolve within the first five years, but psychological effects persist.

     

    The study monitored 94 service members who saw combat in Afghanistan (50 who had experienced concussive blast TBIs and 44 who had not) and assessed them one year and five years after the injury. The research team noted an “evolution rather than resolution of symptoms” between the two evaluations.

     

    By the five-year mark, the two groups in the study showed similar cognitive function (memory and thinking), but the TBI sufferers showed more signs of continued psychological damage than those without. Over 80 percent of those who had suffered TBIs sought treatment by mental health professionals between the evaluations, as opposed to only 40 percent from the other group.

     

    Preventing head injuries in our deployed troops could spare them years if not lifetimes of struggles and pain, and the need for safer heads in the line of duty has never been clearer. The difference a concussion makes is too great to ignore.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Teenagers who understand concussions not more likely to self-report, study says

    Concussion awareness is higher in teenage athletes with access to athletic trainers, but those students aren’t more likely to self-report, a study has found.

     

    Over 700 teenage athletes from 14 schools in the Michigan answered 83 questions that revealed their knowledge of concussion issues and their own history with concussions. Those with access to athletic trainers better understood the dangers of concussions (94% vs. 87%) and the signs and symptoms of concussions (78% vs. 61%). In addition, fewer students with access to ATs thought they could continue playing if they believed they had a concussion or that they could continue playing with concussion symptoms.

     

    Perhaps more significantly, the study indicates that 55% of suspected concussions in teenage athletes across the board go unreported, and the students’ understanding of concussions had a negligible effect on whether they chose to report. Those that didn’t self-report had a variety of reasons:

     

    AwarenessInKidsDoesntMeanReportingBarChart

     

    Athletes in general – and high schoolers in particular – have never been known to prioritize long-term safety and health over short-term pay-offs (if you didn’t already, see the chart above). If educating teens about the dangers and severity of head injuries is having little impact on them, then the parents, coaches, ATs and other officials need to be particularly vigilant. We can’t let teenagers with concussions fall through (or jump into) the cracks.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Some parents won't let kids play sports because of concussions

    Concussions have driven many away from allowing their children to play football in recent years, but a new survey of 1,000 parents says that trend may be spreading to other sports as well.

     

    ParentsKeepingKidsOutPieChart

    In fact, some parents said they will not allow their children to play any sport at all. To the left is the breakdown of the responses.

     

    Of the parents that said that they’d only allow their children to play certain sports (about 330), basketball was the most popular, with 66 percent approving. Rugby was understandably the least accepted, with a 6 percent approval rate. Below are the approximate number of parents of those 330 or so who would allow their children to play each sport.

     

    Parents are learning to be cautious about sports concussions, and that’s a good thing. These numbers certainly reflect the growing concern over children’s heads and long-term health, though they may also herald a decline in the sports themselves. How big and how lasting of an impact remains to be seen, and only time will tell.

     

    ParentsKeepingKidsOutBarChart

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Australian Rugby Union tests "blue card" for concussed players

    The Australian Rugby Union has introduced an innovative device to prevent players from playing through concussions – the blue card.

     

    Red and yellow penalty cards are familiar, of course; they’re used by referees across a wide variety of sports to indicate a player has committed an infraction. Other colors as well have been used in various sports to signal different levels of unacceptable behavior.

     

     

    This blue card, though, isn’t used to indicate a breach of rules. Rather, it’s used to point out a player who, in the referee’s estimation, needs to be checked for a concussion. If a player is showing concussion symptoms, the referee can show him the blue card, and the player is automatically out for the rest of the match. He cannot play in any future matches until cleared by the union’s concussion protocol. The Australian Rugby Union is testing the blue cards, and if they’re successful, they could spread across rugby and then to other sports.

     

    This move gives the only impartial parties on the field the ability to take a concussed player out of the game. The referees have no dogs in the fight and nothing at stake (theoretically anyway). Instead of a team employee (player, coach or trainer) or a distant analyst making the call to remove a player, a neutral person who sees the injury and the player’s symptoms live and in-person can make the decision. And that could make all the difference.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Head safety training program reduces concussions among football players

    Teaching student football players how to block and tackle safely reduces head injury risk by a third, a new study says.

     

    Fourteen of the 24 high school football programs in the study had training from the Heads Up program, which covers hitting with shoulders instead of heads, correct helmet fitting, and general concussion awareness. Not only did those who utilized the program have one-third fewer concussions, but those who did sustain concussions also recovered and were able to return to play an average of 27 percent faster (11 days versus 15 days).

     

    This is a relatively small study in a limited geographical area, so more research is needed to establish just how effecting Heads Up truly is. But from the numbers, it’s safe to say that systematic, intentional head safety education is key in reducing concussions and aiding recovery.

     

    Whether it’s Heads Up or another similar program, football teams across the board should look at implementing a training system for their coaches and players to teach them how to play it safer.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Rodeo star Clint Cannon retires due to concussion

    Almost every sport or activity played at any level has been hit by the concussion crisis, from football to paintball and from soccer to wrestling. The rodeo is among the least-discussed victims, but it was thrust into the spotlight recently when a veteran bareback bronc rider retired. Regarded as one of the best in the world and with multiple championships under his belt, Clint Cannon is walking away from his career after a severe concussion.

     

     

    It wasn’t his first. In fact, in his 14 years as a rider, his concussion count has reached double digits. But after his most recent one in 2015, he announced that 2017 would be his last year competing.

     

    Considering the brutal nature of bronc riding (wherein being thrown off a bucking horse is an everyday occurrence), it’s little wonder that its participants suffer so much injury, and it’s hard to imagine a way it can be made safer.

     

    But with such head injury numbers, it’s clear that the matter deserves thought and action from organizers and riders alike. Cannon’s example will hopefully motivate his peers to consider their own health and the cost that ignoring head injuries could have for their futures.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • NC backpedals on giving parents back-to-play power

    North Carolina lawmakers came under fire recently for a proposed bill provision that would allow parents to decide when their kids could return to play after a concussion. The public’s indignation at the idea caused a quick backpedal, and the provision has since been removed from the bill.

     

     

    The incident has sparked debate about how much control parents should have over their children’s recovery post-concussion. In a perfect world, parents would always consult doctors before making decisions about kids’ health and then always follow the medical advice. And so, in a perfect world, the NC law would work well to protect student athletes.

     

    But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In the heat of the moment, especially when a medical professional isn’t on hand, parents could find themselves making decisions that they aren’t qualified to make. While giving parents control of their kids’ wellbeing in the event of sports-related concussion may sound like a good idea, in practice it would only put students back into games before they’re ready more frequently.

     

    In the end, North Carolina lawmakers recognized the truth: An athlete with a head injury should never return to play until a doctor gives the all-clear, no matter what, every time.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • College students take longer to recover from concussions, study says

    College students, on average, take longer to recover from concussions than the average American, a new study says.

     

    Concussion victims in the United States take about of 7 to 14 days to recover, but in study of 128 Northwestern University students during the 2014-2015 academic year, the undergrad participants took an average of 16 days to recover, while graduate students took a full 31 days.

     

    Most of the participants were athletes, and higher levels of competition saw shorter recovery times (23 days for recreational athletes, 19 for club athletes, and 11-12 for varsity athletes). Since the higher-level teams have easier access to medical attention, it makes sense that their concussions would be diagnosed, treated, and recovered from more quickly.

     

    More than ten extra days of recovery is nothing to scoff at, and the numbers are certainly telling. It’s not new news, but it bears repeating: Access to quick medical care is essential when dealing with concussions.

     

    College students taking longer than the general population to recover makes sense too. Concussions require rest from both physical and mental strain, and higher education is demanding in both respects, especially for athletes. But we should not accept such a dramatic difference in recovery times simply because it’s more difficult for college students to take a break from their responsibilities. Instead, universities should work harder to protect concussion victims with policies to allow them proper rest, and in turn students will be able to return to their studies more quickly, healthier in both the short-term and the long-term.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Concussion decrease this season is a big win for the NFL

    The NFL season ended Sunday with a historic Super Bowl. The Patriots made a comeback unprecedented in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons 34-28. It was Tom Brady’s fifth Super Bowl win and his fourth time being named Super Bowl MVP. With its incredible athletic and dramatic appeal, it was probably the best game America could have asked for.

     

     

    But as exciting as the game was, it was not the best thing to happen this season. Because this season, concussion rates finally fell instead of rising.

     

    The development is an enormous step forward, a testament to the improved concussion protocols in the NFL. The increased sensitivity to head protection and the rule changes that protect against concussions are paying off, and that’s worth celebrating.

     

    That’s not to say things are perfect, that we’ve arrived and have nowhere else to go. Though the concussion rate was down 11.3 percent from the 2015 season, there were still 244 concussions among NFL players this year, plenty to be concerned about. But if this is the start of a new trend, if next season there will be even fewer and the numbers keep dropping as the years go by, we may have finally turned a corner in concussion prevention in professional sports.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

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