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Football helmet

football helmet, football helmet clip art
The football helmet is a piece of protective equipment used mainly in American football and Canadian football It consists of a hard plastic shell with thick padding on the inside, a face mask made of one or more plastic-coated metal bars, and a chinstrap Each position has a different type of face mask to balance protection and visibility, and some players add polycarbonate visors to their helmets, which are used to protect their eyes from glare and impacts Helmets are a requirement at all levels of organized football, except for non-tackle variations such as flag football Although they are protective, players can and do still suffer head injuries such as concussions

Contents

  • 1 History
    • 11 Invention
    • 12 Early years
    • 13 Introduction of advanced materials
  • 2 Modern helmet components
    • 21 Inflatable padding
    • 22 Visors
    • 23 Sensors
    • 24 Headsets
    • 25 One-bar face masks
  • 3 Recent designs
  • 4 Safety Research and Testing
    • 41 NOCSAE certification
    • 42 Current research
    • 43 Other research
  • 5 Logo display
    • 51 Canadian Football League
    • 52 National Football League
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Historyedit

Main article: History of the football helmet Football team, turn of the 20th century

Inventionedit

One of the first instances of football headgear dates to 1896 when Lafayette College halfback George "Rose" Barclay began to use straps and earpieces to protect his ears It is not certain who invented the football helmet Many sources give credit for the creation of the helmet to James Naismith, while other sources credit US Naval Academy Midshipman Joseph M Reeves later to become the "Father of Carrier Aviation", who had a protective device for his head made out of mole skin to allow him to play in the 1893 Army-Navy game Reeves had been advised by a Navy doctor that another kick to his head would result in "instant insanity" or even death, so he commissioned an Annapolis shoemaker to make him a helmet out of leather1 Later, helmets were made of padded leather and resembled aviators' helmets or modern day scrum caps At least in professional football, they were optional Some National Football League players, notably Hall-of-Famer Bill Hewitt, played all or most of their careers without a helmet

Early yearsedit

One innovation from the early 1900s period was hardened leather 1917 marked the first time helmets were raised above the head in an attempt to direct blows away from the top of the headclarification needed Ear flaps also had their downfall during this period as they had little ventilation and made it difficult for players to hear The 1920s marked the first time that helmets were widely used in the sport of football These helmets were made of leather and had some padding on the inside, but the padding was insufficient and provided little protection In addition, they lacked face masks As a result, injuries were very common Early helmets also absorbed a lot of heat, making them very uncomfortable to wear

A leather football helmet believed to have been worn by Gerald Ford while playing for the University of Michigan between 1932 and 1934

In 1939, the Riddell Company of Chicago, Illinois started manufacturing plastic helmets because it felt that plastic helmets would be safer than those made of leather Plastic was found to be more effective because it held its shape when full collision contact occurred on a play These helmets were also much more comfortable and had more padding to cushion the head in an impact Included with the plastic helmet came plastic face mask, which allowed the helmet to protect the entire head By the mid-1940s, helmets were required in the NFL They were still made of leather, but with improved manufacturing techniques had assumed their more familiar spherical shape

Introduction of advanced materialsedit

By the 1950s, the introduction of polymers ended the leather helmet era The NFL also recommended face masks for players in 1955,2 reducing the number of broken noses and teeth, but also necessitating new rules prohibiting opposing players from grabbing the face mask

Modern helmet componentsedit

2015 Cleveland Browns helmet

Inflatable paddingedit

According to Andrew Tucker, football helmets adequately protected players from catastrophic brain injuries, but helmet manufacturers were motivated to design helmets that decrease the risk of concussions Vin Ferrara, a former Harvard quarterback, accidentally discovered a new way to cushion football helmets One night, Ferrara was looking for an aspirin when he saw a squirt bottle in his medicine cabinet As he pumped it and then punched it, he realized that the bottle withstood the blows of different forces Ferrara immediately came up with the idea to encase football helmets with a number of inflatable pockets in order to cushion the blows a football player receives and reduce concussions

More recently, in 2003 Schutt sports introduced their football helmets which contained TPU, or thermoplastic urethane They would argue that this helps cushion the head more than any other helmet in the market Schutt also believes that TPU makes the helmet less prone to mold and easier overall to clean and keep sanitary4

Visorsedit

A more recent addition to the football helmet is the visor or eye shield, which is affixed to the face mask to protect players from glare or eye injuries, such as pokes It is believed that the first player to use a protective visor Mark Mullaney of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings in 1984, in order to protect a healing eye injury Top manufacturers of visors are Nike, Oakley, and Under Armour, with Leader being the first to come out with a visor/shield for former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahoncitation needed While Mullaney and McMahon's visors were tinted, most of the earlier visors were clear or smoked, but they are now offered in a variety of styles ranging from blue, gold, black, rainbow, silver, or amber High-school and pee-wee leagues prohibit all but clear visors This rule was enacted so that training staff and coaches can easily view a player's face and eyes in the case of a serious injury, to discern if the player is consciouscitation needed The NCAA banned the use of tinted visors for the same reason, and the NFL has followed suit as well However, players with eye problems may still obtain special permission to wear tinted visors, some notable examples being LaDainian Tomlinson and Chris Canty5

Players from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs wearing football helmets during a drill in 2004

Sensorsedit

Helmet shock data loggers and shock detectors monitor impacts a player receives, such as the force and direction of the impact If the force recorded by the sensors is over 100 Gs, it signals a possible concussion Some players will experience up to 2,000 of these potential concussion blows each seasonThis data is then analyzed by doctors New rules have been implemented which instruct that any player who has a particularly high reading of force needs to be taken off the field and examined before they can play another down

Headsetsedit

Two Ohio inventors devised a headset for Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown so he could radio plays in to his quarterback It was banned shortly after its first use in 1956 The NFL approved use of headsets for all NFL teams in 19947

NFL rules state that all helmets equipped with headsets must have a visible green dot on the back A few times in 2006, the holder on the field goal attempt was told to pull up and throw or run at the last second because of a change the coaches saw on the field According to the NFL, this gave teams an "unfair advantage" The new rules let each team know who is wearing a headset and hearing the plays being calledcitation needed

Kevin Grady wearing the winged football helmet

One-bar face masksedit

The one-bar face mask was once common but its use has been supplanted in professional and amateur sport For example, it has been illegal in the National Football League since 2004, but a grandfather clause allowed players who wore the mask prior to 2004 to continue to do so for the remainder of their careers No current professional player currently wears such a face mask; the last player to do so was Scott Player, who last played professionally in 2009

Typically, by the mid-1980s only placekickers and punters in professional football in Canada and the United States wore the one-bar face mask, a notable exception being quarterback Joe Theismann

The one-bar had two different variations The standard one-bar was made from nylon or other hard plastic and was bolted to both side of the helmet just in front of the earholes There was a "snub" version that did not extend as far out in front of the helmet as the standard

Face masks for football helmets today are multibar The multibar facemasks are made of a number of materials including titanium, stainless steel, and most commonly carbon steel Each facemask is coated with Polyarmor G17, a powder coating that is resistant to impact and corrosion The Polyarmor is a thermoplastic coating used on a number of surfaces While some organizations purchase new face masks every season, others have their equipment reconditioned

Recent designsedit

In 2002, American football equipment manufacturer Riddell released a new design of helmet called the Revolution8 The newer design was released in response to a study on concussions In addition, Riddell has recently come out with a new design of helmets, the Riddell Speed Flex This helmet came out in 20149 This new helmet uses elements of Riddell's older helmets, the 360 and the Revolution, such as Side Impact Protection and All Points Quick Release face mask attachment system 10

Iowa St Riddell Speed Helmet

In 2007, Schutt Sports announced the arrival of a next generation helmet, the Schutt ION 4D This next generation design was in response to the demand for a safer football helmet The design includes an integrated face guard This new face guard design features shock absorbing "Energy Wedges" that reduce the force of impacts to the face guard College teams wearing the helmet include Air Force, Penn State, and Virginia11 Schutt has also distinguished between their varsity helmets and youth helmets The varsity helmets from Schutt are made with polycarbonate, which is a very strong polymer designed to take bigger hits The Schutt youth helmets however; are made from ABS, which is a lighter material, meant for kids who do not take as powerful of hits4

Recently, a brand new type of helmet has come in to play The Vicis helmet is a new company that is producing helmets have a softer outer layer, so that upon impact, it gives a little bit before the blow reaches the brain, slowing down the impact In addition, the inside of the helmet also has a foam like substance which also slow down impact and improve comfort for the player12

Safety Research and Testingedit

NOCSAE certificationedit

Main article: National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment

Rules in place for NFL, NCAA, and high school football require that all helmets be certified by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment131415 Reliance on NOCSAE certification has been criticized on numerous grounds, including that organization's control by equipment manufacturers causes a conflict of interest, testing data that focuses on skull fractures instead of concussions, and failure to take into account new research131617

The most common NOCSAE test is the drop test This test uses a 13- pound dummy head full of sensors and a gelatin material The head and helmet is dropped from a height of 60 at one of the six NOCSAE specified locations on the helmet These locations include the front, rear, left side, right side, right boss, and left boss The sensors in the dummy head measure the amount of force that the head experiences The NOCSAE has certain regulations such as the peak severity index can never more than1200 SI If a helmet fails to meet these requirements, they do not pass the NOCSAE drop test1819

Current researchedit

There has been significant study/research regarding head injuries in football, as well as football helmet design in recent years Kevin Guskiewicz, a professor at The University of North Carolina and a MacArthur Fellow, has for many years been researching concussions in football of all age groups20 He has been equipping UNC football helmets with accelerometers to measure impacts and concussions Also, the NFL has awarded over $16 million in sports medical research, almost $1 million of which has been toward concussion prevention21 All this concussion prevention research has led football helmet manufacturers to develop safer products A joint effort between Virginia Tech and Wake Forest has been testing current football helmets and giving them yearly ratings since 2011 On a scale out of 5 stars, only one helmet was awarded a 5 in 2011 In 2012, two additional helmet designs were awarded 5 stars2223

Controversies revolving around football helmets always regard their ability to decrease head/brain injury rates, including concussions However, recent research has begun to assess the tests specifically employed to create the safest football equipment In 2015, David Camarillo at Stanford conducted a study that suggested football helmet tests did not account for the delay between injury-causing brain movement and stress impact24

Other researchedit

Neuroscientists at Ohio State University launched baseballs from air cannons at football helmets in order to simulate a kick or blow to the head such as a tackle It was found that the helmets could withstand 2,500 Newtons or about 562 pounds of force

Vijay Gupta, a professor at UCLA, has done research and produced a special polymer that if added as a layer on the inside of football helmets can produce up to a 25% decrease in the g-forces a player would experience25 This reduction of forces would produce a similar amount of reduction of the probability of a player suffering a concussion from the same hits

Logo displayedit

Canadian Football Leagueedit

The longest continuous use of a logo in Canadian professional football is the running stallion logo of the Calgary Stampeders which was adopted in 1954 and has remained unchanged to the present day, with the exception of a black outline added to the artwork in 197226

National Football Leagueedit

In 1948, the Los Angeles Rams were the first NFL team to put logos on their helmets; the basic "ram's horn" logo on the helmet has remained mostly the same, except for color, ever since As of 2015 the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals are the last remaining NFL teams not using any form of primary logo on its helmets The Pittsburgh Steelers are the only NFL team that puts its logo on only one side of the helmet the right side

See alsoedit

  • The Helmet Project
  • History of the football helmet

Referencesedit

Notes

  1. ^ "History of the Football Helmet" Past Time Sports Retrieved 2011-02-02 
  2. ^ Factory Made television program, segment entitled "Football helmets", Science Channel
  3. ^ Shwartz, Alan "Helmet Design Absorbs Shock in a New Way" The New Your Times 2007 http://wwwnytimescom/2007/10/27/sports/football/27helmetshtml
  4. ^ a b "The Science of Domination | Schutt Sports" wwwschuttsportscom Retrieved 2017-05-14 
  5. ^ Keep On Tickin’ Posted 2006-08-25: The NCAA hopes its new rules shorten games this season
  6. ^ University of Denver "Most concussions deliver 95 g's, neuropsychologist says" ScienceDaily ScienceDaily, 25 June 2010 <wwwsciencedailycom/releases/2010/06/100624092526htm>
  7. ^ http://operationsnflcom/the-game/technology/
  8. ^ Riddell: Product Detail
  9. ^ "Riddell gaining attention with new Speedflex, updated technology" NFLcom Retrieved 2017-05-14 
  10. ^ "About Riddell Speedflex Helmet - Buy New Football Impact Helmets" wwwriddellcom Retrieved 2017-05-14 
  11. ^ Schutt ION-4D Who's in it, football helmets, baseball, softball bats
  12. ^ "This Football Helmet Crumples—and That’s Good" Bloombergcom Retrieved 2017-05-14 
  13. ^ a b Borden, Sam September 20, 2012 "Despite Risks, NFL Leaves Helmet Choices in Players' Hands" New York Times Archived from the original on September 20, 2012 
  14. ^ Hillman, Kay 2005 Introduction To Athletic Training Human Kinetics ISBN 9780736052924 
  15. ^ Nelson, David M 1994 The Anatomy of a Game: Football, the Rules, and the Men Who Made the Game University of Delaware p 510 ISBN 9780874134551 
  16. ^ Nowinski, Chris 2006 Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis from the NFL to Youth Leagues pp 110, 116 ISBN 9781597630139 
  17. ^ Culverhouse, Gay 2011 Throwaway Players: Concussion Crisis From Pee Wee Football to the NFL Behler Publications p 79 ISBN 9781933016702 
  18. ^ http://wwwnjcom/rutgersfootball/indexssf/2017/04/behind_the_scenes_look_at_how_a_rutgers_nfl_or_hightml
  19. ^ http://nocsaeorg/wp-content/files_mf/1436291444ND00213m15MfrdFBHelmetsStandardPerformancepdf
  20. ^ http://wwwuncedu/spotlight/Guskiewicz-wins-MacArthur
  21. ^ http://wwwnflcom/news/story/09000d5d81d15901/printable/nfl-charities-awards-grants-for-sports-medical-research
  22. ^ http://www2wslscom/news/2012/may/01/10/virginia-tech-helmet-ratings-released-ar-1881592/
  23. ^ http://wwwsbesvtedu/nid
  24. ^ University, Stanford 2015-07-20 "Stanford research: football helmet tests may not account for concussion-prone actions" Stanford News Retrieved 2017-05-15 
  25. ^ http://newsroomuclaedu/stories/developing-new-materials-to-prevent-248008
  26. ^ 1

Sources

  • Albergotti, Reed and Wang, Shirley S "Is it time to retire the football helmet" The Wall Street Journal November 11, 2009
  • Bhattacharji, Alex "Helmet History" Sports Illustrated for Kids October 1996
  • Copeland, Michael V "Crash Pad" Fortune International February 8, 2010 p8
  • Schwartz, Alan "Concussion- New Football Helmet Design" The New York Times October 27, 2007
  • Tucker, Andrew M "Football players head injuries" House Judiciary FDCH Congressional Testimony October 28, 2009_
  • Zarda, Brett "Butting Heads" Popular Science September 2007

External linksedit

  • The Official History of the Winged Helmet


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    29.10.2014


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