geldefender® Blog

  • Concussion concerns follow the NFL into the Super Bowl

    As football’s biggest night of the year draws near, the spotlight on the NFL is burning brighter than at any other time. The Super Bowl draws scrutiny to every aspect of the league and the teams playing the game, including as it relates to head injuries.

     

    And things are not looking good. A recent report indicated that NFL concussions rose 58 percent this season, adding up to the most concussions of the last four years.

     

    On the heels of that admission came that sad news that former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler had CTE before his death in July. He joins the overwhelming majority of NFL players who tested positive for CTE after their deaths (87 out of 91 as of September). Doctors said his brain’s atrophy was apparent even to the naked eye.

     

    So as you enjoy the game on Sunday, don’t forget what’s at stake for the players and their brains, and don’t let the elevated excitement of Super Bowl 50 overcome concern for player safety.

     

    And, because as a North Carolina company we can’t sign off without having said it, go Panthers! #KeepPounding

     

    *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.

  • Fewer fights in NHL due to concussion awareness?

    The number of fights in the NHL is declining, and Detriot Red Wings forward Justin Abdelakder claims it’s due to the players’ head injury awareness. He could very well be right.

     

    According to Hockeyfights.com, based on the number of fights per game this season so far, the NHL is on track to have 347 fights by the time the regular season closes. That’s less than half of the 734 fights in the 2008-09 season, and there’s a clear overall decline in the number of fights since 2000.

    FewerHockeyFightsChart

    *Projected based on current data

    **2012-13 season excluded due to abbreviated schedule. There were 347 fights in 720 games.

     

    It makes sense that this trend could be because players are more aware of the costs of pummeling each other’s heads.

     

    Hockey will probably always have fights; they’re one of things fans love about it. But the players know now how destructive blows to the brain can be, and the numbers reflect that awareness. The players are taking the threat seriously, and it’s encouraging to see.

     

    *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.

  • Injured NCAA players will need medical officials' go-ahead to return to games

    The NCAA has implemented a new rule that takes return-to-play decisions out of coaches’ and players’ hands. The schools’ medical officials now have the final say on whether players are fit to resume playing after injuries, including concussions.

     

    While the NCAA had already required schools to have protocols, this change refines that requirement to keep schools accountable. Their policies can no longer have loopholes allowing players and coaches to make risky judgement calls about player health.

     

    Of course, this is only effective if the NCAA follows through and penalizes violating schools, certainly not a guarantee. But if it does, this across-the-board standardization will serve to keep all of its players safer from returning to play injured.

     

    *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.

  • NFL to penalize concussion protocol failures

    The NFL’s concussion protocol has succeeded only on a hit-and-miss basis. But now, those misses are going to have consequences.

     

    Reportedly, the NFL will now be taking disciplinary action against anyone who impedes proper use of its concussion protocol from here on out. Players, coaches, refs, medical staff – anybody. The new rule will also apply to other injuries as well.

     

    Countless failures to properly handle head injuries in the league, even after the concussion protocol was implemented, have been documented widely and investigated deeply. But until now, those who have overlooked (deliberately or accidentally) possible concussions have seen no penalties; there has been no actual enforcement of the rules the NFL has put in place.

     

    Hopefully, with these new measures, fewer injuries will go unnoticed and untreated in the NFL, and the players will be able to enjoy healthier careers.

     

    *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.

  • Goodell draws criticism for laughing at concussion joke

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell came under fire this week for laughing at a joke about memory loss due to concussions. During the National Football Foundation awards banquet, Pro Football Hall of Famer Roger Staubach jokingly called Goodell by former commissioner Pete Rozelle’s name and then, after correcting himself, added, “I apologize; I had six concussions in the NFL.”

     

    The joke was at the very least tone-deaf in the current climate. It’s like someone with lung cancer joking about his years of smoking. Knowing what we know now (about both concussions and smoking), it’s really not funny.

     

    Yet Roger Goodell laughed. Granted, the joke was at his expense at first, so it made sense for him to good-naturedly chuckle. But when the joke went on to poke fun at the degenerative effects that concussions may have had on Staubach, it stopped being humorous.

     

    Goodell, who represents the highest level of the sport, and who, incidentally, has already been put into a precarious situation by the upcoming Concussion movie, cannot send the message that concussions can to made light of. They’re far too serious to be used as joke fodder.

     

    *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.

  • Steelers' Roethlisberger self-reports concussion symptoms

    An NFL quarterback self-reported concussion symptoms last week during a game, sending a clear message that head injuries cannot be taken lightly, even by athletes playing at the highest level of the game.

     

    The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, who has in the past been known to continue playing after some questionable hits, left the game against the Seahawks on Sunday after a helmet-to-helmet collision. He was later diagnosed with a concussion. He didn’t report his concerns immediately, instead choosing to finish out the drive, and many are wondering, fairly, why nothing was done before he took himself out.

     

    But his choice to tell the team trainers about his symptoms and undergo the NFL’s concussion protocol was a concrete indicator of a culture change within the NFL. A decade ago, he would have been encouraged to play through and seen as weak for raising his concerns. The fact that he made the decision to pull himself out and seek medical attention speaks volumes of the shift in thinking about head injuries.

     

    Of course, there is still progress to be made; he did finish the drive after all. But Roethlisberger’s self-reporting his symptoms is both a sign of growth in the NFL and a tremendous message to young football players that concussions should always be taken seriously.

     

    *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.

  • Scientists: Saliva may one day be used to diagnose concussions

    As concussion awareness has steadily increased over the last several years, experts have been scrambling to find a quick, reliable, and portable diagnostic tool for coaches, parents, and trainers. Sideline cognitive testing in particular has taken immense strides forward in helping to accurately determine if something is wrong after a head impact.

     

    But these tests are largely subjective and imprecise, and there’s no substitute for definitive physiological data. Scientists out of The Forsyth Institute, a Harvard-affiliated research organization specializing in oral care, think they may have found a way to provide that data. They claim they can diagnose concussions (and many other serious diseases) using saliva.

     

    Studies have shown that spit analysis can reveal the same information as bloodwork can, including the rise in proteins and hormones that indicate head trauma. And unlike blood, no specialized equipment or personnel is required to extract it.

     

    Therefore, in theory, players could simply spit into a machine on the sidelines, the saliva would be analyzed, and a head injury could be confirmed or ruled out. While the idea is a bit strange, if saliva proves a fast and reliable diagnostic tool for athletes, it could be instrumental in promoting head safety in the future.

     

    *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.

  • US Soccer implements new rules to protect youth players' heads

    Soccer players under the age of 11 will no longer be allowed to head the ball in the United States.

     

    In addition, players ages 11 to 13 will be allowed only limited headers in practice, and different substitution policies will be in place for players with suspected head injuries. U.S. Soccer, to resolve a class-action lawsuit filed by parents and players, has instituted new guidelines to improve head safety in the sport.

     

    Of course, the new rules only applies to teams and organizations under U.S. Soccer’s purview, but they will be recommended to all youth soccer players as the official position of the federation. It’s unlikely that even organizations outside U.S. Soccer’s control will ignore the safety recommendations of the governing body of the sport, especially as they concern children.

     

    The rule alterations are significantly behind the times when compared to other sports, even though soccer is responsible for more high school concussions than baseball, basketball, softball, and wrestling combined, according the lawsuit. But now that they are in place, significantly fewer young brains will be exposed to head impacts, protecting both their presents and 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.

  • Do curlers need head protection? High-profile fall sparks debate

    Olympic curling gold medalist Brad Gushue took a hard face-first fall on the ice last week, igniting discussion about whether the sports requires head protection.

     

    Gushue’s accident was cringe-worthy, but after being stitched up, he was able to return to the game. Of course, such a fall could have been much worse, but it’s possible that the public’s reaction is a bit overzealous.

     

    Now, we here at GelDefender will never tell anyone who is concerned about their head safety to risk it. If you think there’s a good chance that your head will be in danger during any pursuit, then please, wear head protection.

     

    But curling isn’t a contact sport. It isn’t even a terribly fast-paced sport. Gushue’s fall, as awful as it was to watch, was a fluke; no outside force caused it. He just fell, as humans are wont to do from time to time.

     

    It’s safe to assume that at the professional level, curlers are sufficiently adept at skating to make such incidents rare. Thus, requiring every single one of them to wear a helmet all the time may be just a bit extreme.

     

    That being said, for lower levels of the sport, with less skilled skaters and where falls may be more common, perhaps better head protection bears exploration.

     

    *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.

  • High school football player dies, three others suffer devastating injuries

    High school football had a tragic two days last week, with four players suffering devastating injuries.

     

    Andre Smith, of Bogan High School in Chicago, died after a head injury during play. Bethany Hudson Haws from Oklahoma broke three vertebrae on a tackle and is now paralyzed from the waist down; the extent of his injuries are still being determined. Baylor Bramble, of Seigel High in Tennessee, sustained a head injury on Friday, had surgery Saturday morning, and remains in critical condition. And Josh Nava of Riverside Poly High in California is in a medically induced coma after a hit during his game and undergoing surgery.

     

    It’s weeks like these that bring the dangers that young athletes face to stunning and terrifying clarity. Our thoughts are with all these players and their families, as Bogan High School and its community grieve Andre, and as Bethany, Baylor, and Josh continue with their recoveries.

     

    *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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