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Smart Football Helmets, Good—Proper Training, Better!

Bob Michaels

September 12, 2013

2 Min Read
Smart Football Helmets, Good—Proper Training, Better!

Xenith smart helmet


A recent Qmed News story highlighted a study earlier this year in which researchers in Virginia and North Carolina took a comprehensive look at how football-related head injuries could impact children between the ages of 14 and 18. Eventually, researchers hope that this study will help improve player safety on the field, including by prompting the development of smart helmets containing accelerometers and sensors.

In response to this story, a reader offered the following commentary:

Dear Sir,

I think the technology is great for safety in the sport. However, my comments are directed to the root cause of these types of injuries and the comment about the study of 14 to 18 year olds, a group that would encompass high school age players.

Having played and coached at the youth level, 8-13, this is where it all starts, for the most part. Sure, there are those that don't go through a youth program but most of those that haven't are far behind in skills and experience and usually aren't good enough to make a high school program.

As I was taught in the youth level and reinforced at the high school level, using the top of the head IS NOT proper tackling technique, nor is it how one should lead into a collision as a ball carrier. My point is, there are far too many "coaches" at youth and high school levels that DO NOT teach and enforce these techniques. These individuals are the responsible individuals for the types of head injuries that are more and more commonplace. Unless this is changed, there isn't a helmet in the world, no matter how sophisticated, that will prevent a spinal injury when a victim is leading with the top of his helmet.

Creating safer equipment is great but failing to deal with the root cause should be an even higher focus.

Tom Knaack
Engineering Specialist, New Product Development
Accellent Inc.

Bob Michaels is managing editor of Medical Product Manufacturing News.

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