Bullet-Proof Contact Sports

“We’re seeing evidence, in football and hockey especially, of the risk of brain degeneration following repetitive concussions,” said Dr. Charles Tator, a brain surgeon at Toronto Western Hospital and an expert on concussions. “This is serious, because we don’t have a treatment for it, or even a test to diagnose it during life. We don’t even know why this tau protein accumulates in the brain.”

In typical American fashion, Wired reports that the head of a Kevlar bullet-proof armor company, Unequal Technologies, is offering their product to solve the NFL and NHLs epidemic of concussions and traumatic brain injury. A problem that did not exist before the arms race of better padding and increasingly unrealistic television interest in the blood lust of sport.

The entire article can be summed up by those two points. This rise in concussions comes from two factors. Players are getting bigger and padding is getting stronger. Kevlar’s promise to make the padding better, according to those rules, fundamentally seems unable to address the problem. So far, evidence bears this out:

“Kevlar has come up at some of our meetings, but nothing substantial,” said Dr. Henry Feur, a member of the NFL’s Head Neck and Spine Committee and a team physician for the Indianapolis Colts. “Reducing the G-forces in a collision may help with concussions, but it has yet to be proven. I don’t think Kevlar is going to address the ultimate problem, which is the brain crashing against the skull.

Source http://www.wired.com/playbook/2012/07/kevlar/all/

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