Experts: Helmets avoid injuries, not concussions



NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Helmets in football and hockey are extremely effective at preventing catastrophic head injuries but their track record for avoiding concussions is spottier, according to sports science professors at the National Athletic Trainers Association convention Monday.

Helmets “certainly help to mitigate forces that are distributed by impact to the skull and the intracranial cavity and the brain,” said Kevin Guskiewicz, a professor of sports science at North Carolina. “But the brain is still going to move inside that cranial cavity regardless of whether there’s a helmet on or not.”

Guskiewicz believes “behavior modification” such as not “leading with the head” when tackling in football can prevent concussions as much as improved helmet design.