With ' Traumatic Brain Injury' becoming such a focus in the NFL- why hasn't anyone questioned the role of helmets in causing it?

I ask this for two reasons:

1, They certainly protect but they must also accentuate hits through the jarring they create which is an unnatural feel

2, In other games like Aussie Rules and Rugby where hits are similarly common, the lack of any real instances of these injuries corresponds with players seldom wearing helmuts. Or if they do, they are a padded variety rather than metallic


Most Helpful Guy

  • The helmets aren't the problem. It's the players. Because they have a helmet, they turn it into a weapon and act as if it makes them invincible. It's like driving a car into a brick wall at 150mph and thinking you'll be ok because you're wearing a seatbelt and airbag

    • I agree with this, and by suggesting it, you have in a sense conceded they are part of the issue. i think they accentuate the impact as well

    • Show All
    • @other_tommy_wiseau Weird that you didn't mention the even more obvious thing, which is that the average NFL player is as big as 1.5 average Aussie Rules or élite rugby players.

    • @redeyemindtricks I didn't mention a lot of things, like how the studies are primarily done on athletes who have had concussion problems and have had pretty extensive careers. It doesn't account for the person who only played in high school or d2 college, or just a few short years

What Girls Said 2

  • Dude, do you understand the size difference between the players in these leagues?

    Here's a roster from one of the top-league Aussie Rules teams:
    There's only ONE player on that entire roster who weighs more than 101 kg (222.7 pounds) -- and that one player is more than seven feet tall!

    I can't find a height/weight roster for any top rugby squad, but, according to this article, the HEAVIEST NZ All Blacks players are still only about 120 kg (264.5 pounds) -- and this is the heaviest All Blacks team in history by far:

    Now look at this roster from the Dallas Cowboys:

    To convert those pound-weights to kilograms, divide them by 2.21. Solidly half of that roster -- including absolutely EVERY lineman, and nearly EVERY linebacker -- weighs more than *every single player* in a top rugby or Aussie-rules league.

    Honestly, it's not even the same type of collision anymore. Weight ratio of something like 3 to 2, dude. That's like comparing adults to 12- or 13-year-olds.

    In other words, yr point #2 here is like saying "12-year-olds don't get these injuries... therefore, if adults are getting them, the helmets must be to blame."


    The players are SO MUCH BIGGER that it's pointless to even *try* making this kind of comparison.

    The NFL did, once upon a time, use old-fashioned rugby-style leather helmets. But, those were abandoned in favor of the current ones once it was PROVED -- in study after study after study -- that the more modern ones were safer.
    Same reason bicycle helmets aren't made of leather, either. (:

    Basically, it's gna be like this unless the players start getting smaller again... which pretty much isn't going to happen.

    What WILL happen, though, is a slow but steady march of football from a sport for "everyone" to a sport for mostly the lower classes of Americans -- exactly as happened with boxing a couple of decades ago.
    In the '60's and '70's, kids from all social classes used to box in Golden Gloves... now it's almost exclusively poorer minority kids. You'll see the same thing happening with football.
    As a parent of a 13-year-old football player, in fact, I can absolutely tell you that it's already started to happen. The upper class and upper-middle class has slowly but surely begun to migrate over to soccer.

    • Sry forgot to link the Aussie roster. That's here

    • i still have memories of William Perry adverts from the 80's, so I am aware of the size. Compensating this in my mind is the speed in the hits. Some hits in Rugby/AFL are at full pace coming from a fair distance accentuating the force of the blows. Most of the NFL hits come at the line of scrimmage and to me ( once more my idle mind at work ) is accentuated by the helmet/pads.

    • NFL players aren't that much bigger than rugby players, you don't get many international players under 90kgs now and even some backs are over 100.

      When Jarryd Hayne went from rugby to NFL he didn't look out of place size wise lol.

  • Maybe it's a conspiracy


What Guys Said 4

  • well concussions do occur quite frequently in rugby. they are the most common injury accounting for 12.% injuries in 2015

    i do know there is research looking into the efficacy of helmets and whether or not different designs can help. most recently in the states they've started producing helmets with sensors in them to detect impact and when impact is above a certain level it triggers a response to suggest concussions

    i think in the NFL proper tackling tactics should be the biggest focus and also the league and media moving away from glorification of big hits, particularly ones that involve head shots

  • Rugby league and rugby union players here in Australia also have brain injury problems.
    It may be more serious than is admitted, because a brain injury can sometimes have little measurable effect on a two-digit IQ. Very few professional footballers would be Mensa candidates.

    • I do not know any ones who have claimed it, outside of Greg Williams making it known how he has suffered with the legacy of many concussion. in the States, it seems a dime a dozen

  • Rugby league and rugby union players here in Australia also have brain injury problems. It may be more serious than is admitted.

    In the NFL the helmets aren't the problem what you have to remember is that these are guys who are like 200-300lbs of solid muscle and they use their helmets as battering rams just about lol and basically turn their bodies into projectiles to slam through enemy ranks.

    At that point it doesn't matter what you put inside the helmets to protect them injury is still going to be common or at least common enough that people talk about it. You also have to remember that neck injuries can in some instances affect the head to and the neck isn't really that protected either. They even wear body armor and yet sometimes accidents revolving around the chest area will still happen.

  • As someone else was saying they probably add to the problem by getting people to hit harder, but if you took them away that make the game a lot more offence friendly?

    • And a lot of rugby players are getting problems especially later on in life. At the moment there's a big issue with dimentia and rugby.

    • I am just intrigued as an outside who sees hits as being as brutal in other games without the same issue.

      the common theme is helmuts in NFL but predominantly not in out games. even the shoulder pads in the NFL would accentuate hits