Heads in the Game
In a New York gathering where expert and panelist Dr. Robert Cantu asked that the NFL sever its ties with the Riddell helmet manufacturer in what amounted to a monopoly, the league's head, neck and spine medical committee today began looking into preventive measures that include opening up players' choices for headgear.
The panel spent part of the day meeting with military, helmet manufacturer, engineering and even NASCAR officials to seek out new and improved methods to safeguard players' brains -- and, as with anything related to the NFL and concussions, there is a trickle-down effect to the other levels of football in America.
Another expert on the committee, Latrobe native and onetime Steelers graduate-assistant athletic trainer Kevin Guskiewicz, suggested different helmets for different positions, all the better to protect them.
"There are different approaches, that is clear," it quoted commissioner Roger Goodell, who sat in on the meeting.
According to an Associated Press report, NFL officials estimate estimates that 75 percent of helmets used this season are made by Riddell, 23 percent Schutt, 1 to 2 percent by Xenith, and a handful by Adams USA.
North Hills HIgh product Mark Kelso, longtime safety with the Buffalo Bills, also attended the meeting as a representative for a helmet manufacturer. He endured several concussions and, as a result, wore a soft-shell cap atop his helmets to try to protect himself.
The Washington Post quoted Goodell as saying he hopes new rules will be enacted before next season to safeguard heads.
In other news:
> The New Jersey governor did sign that concussion legislation... we noted the expectation of the signing in this thread Tuesday.
> A Virginia study talks about girls' increased incidence in concussions, but experts warn that much of that is due to a simple fact: girls are more honest, and boys will hide/deceive to keep on playing.
> Certified athletic trainers? Hmm, now where did I read a story recently talking about their role on a football sidelines. Oh, yeah, the Post-Gazette....
> At the same national certified athletic trainer conference where they announced their youth-football partnership, experts again repeated a grim tale that I have written about concussions nowadays: They're calling it an "epidemic."