Health & Wellness

New football helmet test could help protect kids from concussions

According to Safe Kids, over 160,000 kids and teens went to the ER with a sports-related concussion in just one year. The leading cause: football.

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For decades, football helmets were given a linear drop test to evaluate their effectiveness. But now there's a brand new test developed by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) — and experts say it's a game changer.

"If you take a blow to the side of the head, especially far forward or far backward, you are going to spin the head on the neck," neuroscientist Robert Cantu, NOCSAE vice president, told TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen, who saw the new test in action at ICS Laboratories in Ohio.

The old helmet test only measured the linear force experienced by the head, but the new test incorporates a "neck" that allows the head in the test to twist and move in all directions. The belief is that helmets that reduce the rotational force that the head and brain experience upon impact are going to help reduce concussions.

The new standard goes into effect in November 2018. All new football helmets will have to pass the new test. The old test will still happen too; the new standard is in addition to it.

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