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Sizing Up Concussions In Football

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT

Over the year, the dimensions of football haven't really changed. The field is still 120 yards long, 53 1/3 yards wide, and the ball weighs about a pound. Those measurements have not evolved. Others have.

This year's University of Texas defense averages 238 pounds. In 1970, Coach Darrell K. Royal won a national title with just six players total weighing-in at 238 pounds or more. Today's players are bigger and stronger. The game is faster and more dangerous. The brain has never been in more jeopardy.

"It's something that coaches are aware," says Texas head football coach Mack Brown. "It's something we understand. We don't want any of our players or other players to get hurt."

"Every year we come up with good ideas and more knowledge of what we're doing," says Texas State head football coach Dennis Franchione. "There's more of an understanding of the helmet situation, there are far more studies."

Helmets are not doing enough. Yearly, an estimated 3.8 million sports related concussions occur in pro, college, and youth competition. Approximately 85 percent of those go undiagnosed. Biomedical engineers at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest Universities evaluated 15 different brands of football helmets based on concussion risks. According to the University Interscholastic League, Texas high schools are not required to report what type of helmet they use. Regents School of Austin, a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) is ahead of the game.

"It's important for those kids to be healthy when they're 25, 30, 40, 50 years old," says Regents head football coach/athletic director Beck Brydon.

Regents uses the Guardian protective helmet cover, a soft outer shell on top of the helmet that dampens the impact of head-to-head contact.

"The emphasis is on protecting the head and the neck," says Regents wide receiver Tony Kwiatkowski. "We've focused on that in our tackling drills and our contact drills too."

"The players are flying around more than they should," says Coach Brydon. "They're more reckless than they should be. They think the helmets and pads will help them, but it's just the opposite. They should be learning to do it the right way."

So while the field itself is the same, the size of the players continues to increase, forcing football programs and leagues to carry their weight and protect the brain. And like the guys who take the field, that hurdle is growing tougher every day.

By Adam Winkler.Sizing Up Concussions In Football


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October 22, 2014 07:13 GMT

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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