Padded helmets, safe tackling to minimize the head injuries in youth football

Latest study published by a team of researchers at Rutgers determines that middle school football players could avoid head injuries from padded helmets, and by using safe tackling and blocking techniques.

Expert studies have linked head injuries caused by football and other sports to cognitive problems such as depression, dementia and a degenerative brain disease- chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Studies also indicate that youth players represent 70 percent of all professional football and amateur players, this further necessitates the safety of sport for younger players.

For the study, the team evaluated 20 members of youth football team in New Jersey. These wore helmets equipped with a system, tracking the number and severity of impacts which each player sustained during the 20-practice, seven-game season.

Furthermore, a tackling coach taught the players and coaches safe methods for blocking, defeating blocks, tackling with reduced head contact for both defensive and offensive players. In addition, the players also wore Guardian Caps, which are helmets worn with a padded cover, these further helped in reducing the number of high-energy head impacts.

Sources reveal there were 817 recorded impacts during the season with an average of 41 impacts per player and about 20 minutes of full contact per practice, however there were no concussions.

“Although concussions causing readily observable signs and symptoms are of great concern to physicians examining football players during and after games, the effects of other head trauma with fewer symptoms also can result in long-term damage,” explained Robert Heary, director of the Center for Spine Surgery and Mobility at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.