Football Helmets & Concussions
POW!! CRACK!! I just attempted to deliver a key block on a 240lb linebacker in order for my quarterback to score a touchdown. Our helmets collided. I was dizzy, the lights got brighter, and my head was pounding; I could have sworn I had a concussion. On the sideline a teammate said I’d be fine and that I was going to have the game of a lifetime. I strapped my helmet back up and went back onto the field. I actually did have that game of lifetime, but at what cost? The football helmet is associated with strength and toughness, and so are the men who wear them. The helmet is not there to protect strength and toughness; it is there to protect something much more fragile- the brain. Can the technology of the helmets keep up with each generation of bigger, faster, and harder hitting players and prevent concussions? A football helmet has long been time iconic symbol and cultural artifact. American football can be traced back to the mid-19th century. The very first intercollegiate game was played in 1869 and the first professional game was played in 1892; however, they did not use helmets. In fact the leather helmet was not invented until the early 1900s, and its use was not enforced until the 1920s. Since that time helmets have evolved and become more protective. In 1939, Riddell, a company in Illinois, manufactured plastic helmets because they thought it would be safer for the players. Football helmets became mandatory by the 1940s in the NFL and plastic facemasks were being put on them as well. The helmets we see players wearing did not come onto the market until the 1990s. Todays helmets are made of polycarbonate and are much stronger than any previously made helmet. Riddell has recently developed a helmet called the Revolution, which is supposed to be more concussion proof, but in theory there is no such thing. Because it is an intense collision sport, football has had an immense problem with concussions. Recently the...
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