Padded Helmets

I have noticed the padded helmets in recent photos and I don’t remember seeing them in the past. Are they a new addition to Arkansas practices? Since they must provide extra protection in practice it follows they would do the same in a actual game. Any chance these will become a part of the uniform of the future?

Yes, we mentioned them after the first day. They are being worn by linemen. Right now, they are not legal to be worn in games. Sure seems like the right thing to do. Not sure why someone has not come up with that before now.

I talked to a high school coach recently who says he definitely sees the trend of fewer players in the game at his level. He said it would be even less if he was allowed to tell parents exactly what is happening when their son gets a concussion. He said, “If I told them, we are holding your son out for a week because of a brain injury, most of them would no longer be playing. That’s what it is, too, a brain injury. Concussion sounds better than brain injury.” I had to agree with him.

I thought I submitted this yesterday, but it didn’t go through somehow.

I am dismayed that the extra padding on helmets is not legal for games. Any reason why? Please please don’t let it be licensing because the logo doesn’t show or something like that.

I played football. Suffered a concussion. My parents would never allow me to play again. I bitterly resented them at the time. Now I understand totally. I have a daughter. If I had had sons, I’m not sure I’d have sanctioned them playing football.

If we want this game of ours to survive, the powers that be are going to have to allow whatever equipment diminishes head injuries into games. Period.

And any use of the head in tackling and blocking needs to be coached and legislated out of the game. Even the “put your facemask into their numbers” with your head up isn’t safe enough it doesn’t seem to me. Is a blow to the forehead less traumatic that a blow to the crown? I’m asking. The game is making an effort to end the “duck your head and deliver a blow with the crown of the head.” Thank goodness…though it still happens. Running backs shouldn’t be allowed to do it either. If I saw M.Lynch do that once I saw it a thousand times. Get your head out of the way as much as possible. Period. Defensive and offensive players. (Aka teach the old methods of blocking and tackling with your shoulders. Like football players did before facemasks. And like Rugby players do now.)

It’s either that or this wonderful game we love is gonna die little by little. Just my 2 cents

I agree, Maestro. The facts are daunting for many players
that carry varying degrees of impairment throughout
their lives.
If aggressive proactive measures aren’t taken to significantly lessen the seriousness and prevalence
of these injuries, our beloved game of football will
face legislation that could lead to changes that will
drastically alter the game.

In my opinion, the helmet must and will be changed for the game to continue as we know it. For many years , the helmet was designed to be a weapon and not for protection. Too much research has gone into head trauma for something not be done with the construction of the head gear. Parent’s and administrators will demand it.

I’m no expert, so I’d defer to some bio-mechanical engineer, but I can’t imagine why padding on the outside of the helmet would be any more effective than padding on the inside. The key is absorbtion of energy. Outside or in makes no difference.

There’s another problem that padding doesn’t really address: that’s the problem of the brain hitting the inside of the skull when it comes to a sudden stop. It’s not so much the blow to the outside of the head anymore. Padding is already pretty good. Of course, much of the problem isn’t just the type of blow, but the number of them. We’ve gone from 10 to 11 to 12 games in the NCAA–and that doesn’t count the bowl games half the teams now have. So we’re at 13 games for most teams & as many as 14 or 15 for some. The NFL has 16 regular season games & 3(?) preseason games. Then you have playoffs. Then we add practices.

I love football, but to preserve it we probably ought to cut back on the number of games at all levels.

I just looked up the NCAA rules governing helmets. There is nothing in the rule book that says a helmet has to have an external hard shell. However, it does specify that all helmets used in games must meet NOCSAE standards, and it is possible that a soft shell violates the NOCSAE standards.

There are safer ways to tackle. The old blow with the forehead I was taught isn’t it. It may be the technique promoted by Pete Carroll and the Seahawks which involves rugby-style contact leading with the shoulders. Seattle’s D still knocks the crap out of people (they’re not called the Legion of Boom for nothing), but their team concussion rate is among the lower rates for NFL teams over the past few years.

It is entirely possible that the game we love is going to die little by little no matter what. Football is just not a safe game. You have very large men moving very fast, colliding with other very large, fast men. Sometimes the point of contact, unavoidably, is the head. The human brain, unlike a woodpecker’s, is not built for collisions with solid objects. And until we evolve to develop the woodpecker’s defense mechanism (which is the cranial equivalent of shock absorbers), that’s not going to change. Changes in technique such as Seattle promotes may help. But brains are not built to be rattled inside the skull.

Back in the day it wasn’t called a concussion, you had your bell rung and went back in. Time always educates us more.

I got a concussion in a Saturday morning practice in the ninth grade (we got our butts beat Thursday night; the coach, POd by our lack of effort, called a special Saturday practice featuring lots of hitting). I remember the back of my head hitting the ground as I was tackled in a drill. I tried to get up. That lasted about a second, as I staggered badly, and Coach told me to lie back down. I don’t remember anything for the next two hours. When I regained my memory/senses, practice was still going on and I was standing up watching. I have no idea if I was put back in to contact in those two hours. It wouldn’t surprise me if I were; as you said, they didn’t know very much in those days, particularly a small-town junior high coach*. No telling how many brain cells were destroyed that morning. My football career ended after that season. That was mainly because I wasn’t very good and rarely got off the bench, but then my bell was rung in practice, not in a game.

One other thing that stands out to me about my “career”. My first year of football was fifth grade. During practice one day, I was blocking as a slotback. Whistle blew to end the play; I turned around to go back to the huddle, and one of our linebackers forearmed me to the face, a complete cheap shot, and I went flying. If you did that in a game, you’d be thrown out now. The college students pretending to coach us went nuts, that it was a great hit.

That linebacker who blasted me went on to play college football and attended law school, as had his father before him, and practices in Little Rock and other cities. He went on to make many millions of dollars in liability lawsuits against an auto manufacturer and a tire company for defective products (I bet Chip and a few of our other attorneys on the board know who he is). I suspect some of the attorneys he outfought in court felt like they were cheap-shotted just like I was.

  • The coach who called that practice died a few years back of Alzheimer’s. I don’t think he would have known what to make of what football has become now.

Yes. I know the attorney you’re referring to, Jeff. However, I’m most struck by your speculation about your destroyed brain cells. We now know the origin of those “issues” we’ve known about you for some time. :lol:

I can blame football, Chip. You have to blame law school. :stuck_out_tongue:

Good read.

I remember when I was in school I also had a concussion due to football. Not sure how many are from SWA on here but I got mine my freshman year playing up with the highschool boys, against the Prescott Curley wolves. I got my “bell rung” by a stud RB who went on to play at Henderson. I got hit, eyes blacked out a little, hopped up, and instantly fell back down. All I remember from the next following moments where being helped off and my coach telling my dad how bad my left foot was dragging when I walked. Here I am years later and I still think that has affected me to today, every once in a while I’ll catch my left leg ‘catch’ or ‘drag’ as I walk and appear that I tripped a little. I’ll always think that’s where it originated from.

As it happened, that Thursday night whuppin’ that got my coach so upset was also against the mighty Curley Wolves (I’m from Arkadelphia). If you’re still feeling the effects of that hit all these years later, that sounds like more than your garden-variety concussion.

How about that, I’m from Hope, so not too far off.

It was diagnosed as a mild concussion, I’m sure it’s just my overreactive thoughts that put them together. It’s not a problem that I have on a daily basis or one that seriously hampers me, just gives me something to blame if it ever looks like I trip. Probably occurs from me just not paying attention or multi-tasking, more than any other reason. Or maybe I’m a clutz.

It wasn’t law school, Jeff. It might be some the things I did during law school, but not law school itself. :smiley:

Could be. Or maybe just what you’ve done with that J.D. since then.