The NFL concussion saga continues, with concussion rates falling only slightly — by 13 percent — during the most recent season. The NFL remains under fire for their slow and often ineffectual approach to the frequent occurrence of concussions. In an effort to take further action, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) has announced new helmet safety guidelines for the upcoming football season.
While 2013–2014 was supposed to be the season the NFL cracked down on the risk of concussions, the threat continues to plague the sport. By the end of 2013 there had already been 152 additional concussions, despite the $765 million settlement the NFL had recently agreed to pay as compensation for concealing the relationship between football and brain trauma. While the NFL reported a 13 percent decrease in diagnosed concussions, third party analysts have reported some irregularities in the NFL’s handling of concussion cases, including:
- Only two-thirds of all concussions are reported on the NFL injury report.
- Almost 50 percent of players did not a miss a game after suffering from a concussion, increasing the risk of more significant brain injuries from repeated impacts.
- New rules do not always work as well as expected.
- Almost half of the players who suffer from a concussion return to the field for the next match, which may help explain why the rate of concussion accelerates over the length of the season.
Concussions can have significantly adverse consequences, both temporary and long-term. Many players suffer from advanced dementia and others, burdened by acute mental health problems, have committed suicide. The “silver lining” is that the NFL’s concussion problem has received a growing volume of publicity, increasing the pressure on the NFL to find an effective and efficient solution.
In that vein, NOCSAE recently announced new concussion guidelines for football helmets, expected to come into effect during the fall of 2015. Specifically, NOCSAE is looking to implement safety standards to address recent scientific research confirming that concussions have as much to do with the rotational movement of the head and neck as they do with the initial blow. The new guidelines include:
- Improved specifications for youth and professional helmets.
- New pneumatic ram testing of protective headgear with faceguards, designed to imitate the strength of impacts delivered on the football field.
- Updated linear impactor test method specifications.
These changes represent the first alterations to NOCSAE’s helmet guidelines in many years. They address a problem that had beforehand been effectively ignored, under the excuse that those impact conditions could not be reproduced in a laboratory. In other words, existing safety testing standards do not adequately acknowledge the role played by angular forces in causing concussions. These new rules will hopefully help reduce the rate and severity of concussions during football matches by improving football helmets’ ability to absorb the force of an impact.
Contact our NFL Concussion Attorneys in Columbus and Atlanta, GA
Brain concussions can pose a very serious threat to your mental and overall health. They are known to cause depression, anxiety, dramatic mood swings, substance abuse, and poor judgment. If you have sustained long-term health effects from a concussion, contact our offices in Atlanta and Columbus, GA to speak to schedule a consultation and case review with our expert legal team. We can help you obtain the compensation you may be entitled to.