ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – During the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Orlando, Fla., researchers introduced a study which found that expensive helmets for high school football players that boast new technology and custom-build mouth guards offer the same level of protection as their less costly counterparts.
According to HealthDay News, study co-author Dr. Margaret Alison Brooks said there was no difference between brands or levels of cost when it came down to preventing concussions.
“We’re certainly not saying that helmets and mouth guards aren’t important. They do what they are supposed to do. Mouth guards prevent dental injuries, and helmets prevent skull fractures and scalp and face lacerations,” she was quoted as saying. “But I don’t think the manufacturing companies have the data to support [the claim that] if a parent buys a specific model, their child will have a reduced risk of concussion.”
For the study, researchers polled high school football players before the start of their 2012 seasons as to their previous injuries and personal play statistics to date. Their trainers subsequently documented all concussions that occurred following completion of the questionnaire.
In addition to monitoring injury and activity, HealthDay News learned that the team of researchers also took note of the equipment they used – both the brand names and years of manufacture.
Ultimately, researchers found no difference between concussions rates based on the type or age of the helmet worn by the 115 players who suffered head injuries that season, accounting for 8.5 percent of the studied pool.
Additionally, students wearing custom mouth guards suffered concussions at higher rates than those who did not.
Brooks noted that helmets may not be able to do much to completely prevent concussions, given the way in which the human body works.
“There’s a lot of debate regarding whether you can create a helmet that could reduce concussion risk, given the structure of the skull,” she said. “The brain isn’t attached to the skull. It’s floating freely in spinal fluid. You can dissipate the force of something striking the skull, but you can’t reduce the forces that make the brain bounce back and forth inside the skull following impact.”
The study has not yet been published and its findings are, as such, considered preliminary, HealthDay News found.