As the recipient of multiple head injuries, I am obsessed with helping eliminate the likelihood of a concussion in sports.
Along with the importance and effectiveness of preseason baseline testing, the redesign of football and hockey helmets is the logical solution.
Why the industry has not yet been able to redesign sports helmets to significantly lessen or eliminate this is beyond the imagination.
True, it is admirable that the NFL has adopted the use of the Guardian Cap in preseason play, but why not wear this new design during the season’s official gameplay?
One player remarked that it was not an attractive feature of the uniform. I was not aware that football was a fashion event. The research has demonstrated that the incidence of concussions in the NFL may be reduced by 10%-20% when wearing the cap.
That is certainly better than no improvement, yet much more needs to be done.
When scientists, engineers, and doctors develop and utilize technologies to do so much, it’s time to focus on our inner world problems with as much drive and enthusiasm as our interests have taken us out into space.
Let’s face it, the brain is our master computer and we have not yet found a way to replace it. Before we forget — or hand all our abilities over to robots — let’s come up with real solutions.
There has been discussion about the woodpecker and its anatomy offering hints for helmet redesign. Beginning over a decade ago, there were a series of studies published presenting how elements of the woodpecker’s anatomy possibly contributed to this creature’s little brain being protected when pecking.
It also appears now that there are some researchers who have decided that it’s not the design but the size of the brain that prevents it from being damaged while forcefully and repeatedly slamming its beak into a tree.
Part of the answer may be found in the spongy bone that envelops the tiny brain. This makes me think of crumple zones in cars.
If there is a 20% reduction when two Guardian Caps collide, why not create a helmet where the interior and the exterior of the helmet include this design?
Would this then reduce the likelihood of a concussion more? I am not a physics expert and I do know that there is a helmet design for cyclists that have been inspired by the crumple zones in cars.
Why the theory has not been adopted for other sports remains in question. I do remember that one of the most interesting assignments in my first sculpture class was to design a container that could hold an uncooked egg and be able to drop 12 feet without the egg breaking. The winning design was one that was an icosahedron and was covered by small suction cups. The inside of the icosahedron was padded.
When will it be unthinkable to accept that a damaged brain is not a big deal? Elon Musk, if you’re reading this, please put some of those amazing space scientists, engineers, and researchers on this inner space problem. If this is not a possibility, let’s have a nationwide school competition. I am a firm believer in the creative power of young minds. Let’s do this now.
Intelligent reads on this topic:
The brains of woodpeckers are protected by their skull bone. Inside the skull bone is quite a bit of spongy bone, layered in plates, which acts like a built-in football helmet that protects their grey matter.
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