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AOSSM: Helmet Brand Not Tied to Concussion Risk in Football

MONDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Specific helmet brands and helmet age are not associated with the risk of a sports-related concussion (SRC) in high school football players, while the risk of SRC is lower for players who wear a generic mouth guard provided by their school instead of more expensive mouth guards, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, held from July 11 to 14 in Chicago.

Timothy McGuine, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues prospectively analyzed data from 1,332 public and private high school football players in Wisconsin to determine the association between types of football helmets and mouth guards and the incidence and severity of SRCs.

The researchers found that 19 percent of players reported an SRC in the last six years and 13 percent reported an SRC in the last twelve months. During the 2012 football season, 115 players (8.6 percent) sustained 116 SRCs. The rate of SRC was not associated with helmet manufacturer or the year the helmet was purchased. The severity of SRC, based on median days lost, was also not associated with helmet manufacturer. However, players who wore a specialized or custom-fitted mouth guard had a significantly higher rate of SRC than players who wore a generic mouth guard provided by their school (relative risk, 1.9).

"Contrary to equipment manufacturers' claims, lower risks of sustaining a SRC or the severity of a SRC were not associated with a specific helmet brand," McGuine and colleagues conclude. "Notably, players who wore a generic mouth guard provided by the school had a lower rate of SRC compared to players who wore more expensive mouth guards marketed to reduce the incidence of SRC."

Abstract - Paper 27
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