Helmet developed in MA prevents football concussions
LOWELL, Mass. -- An increase in devastating hits in the NFL and even among younger players is fielding concern.
But, several local teams are taking steps to keep players safe.
Twenty percent of high school football players will suffer a concussion this year and studies are showing long-term brain damage even on that level.
But, with the help of a local company, two high schools have set out to soften the blows.
The Red Raiders’ helmets look the same, but everything has changed on the inside.
“You feel it less when you get hit,” said Peter Balas, a Lowell High School football player.
Eighteen tiny shock absorbers that work like airbags make up the new “Xenith” helmet. This new helmet was developed in Massachusetts by former Harvard quarterback and doctor, Vin Ferrara.
“If you can reduce how suddenly the head moves, you’re going to reduce the magnitude of the motion of the brain inside the skull,” said Dr. Ferrara.
At $300, the new helmet might be a tough sell for local high schools. But, with the help of Lowell General Hospital the helmets are a possibility.
“This partnership with the hospital is amazing and does open the door for a lot of kids that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Ed Rozmiarek, the headmaster at Lowell High School.
The custom-fitted helmets will follow freshman and sophomores their entire high school career as part of a comprehensive study.
At Buckingham, Brown and Nichols in Cambridge, they’ve already seen the difference.
“It was the best thing we’ve ever done. Last year, our concussions went down significantly,” said Buckingham, Brown and Nichols coach, John Papas.
“Hopefully, that’s going to take business away from me. We don’t want to see these children who have had these significant traumatic brain injury,” said Dr. Jonathan Drake of Lowell General Hospital.
Dr. Ferrara said year-over-year sales of the Xenith helmet doubled in 2009 and he expects them to double again this year.
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