"Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

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The utility cyclist
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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby The utility cyclist » 9 Sep 2019, 4:06pm

I had a minor head concussion* in July, the first in this particular activity (collision sport) despite participating many times at a higher/more intense/physically harder level (not that that was that high anyway :lol: ), it was due to a clash of heads, a helmet would not have prevented the clash, in fact would have increased the forces to the brain as a whole for both parties IMO.

Helmeted heads would have come into contact much sooner and less slowing down of the heads as bodies would not be in contact with each other so that head speed is higher at point of impact than unhelmeted, ergo significantly greater forces put upon the brain/skull, that's not even taking into account risk compensation if one was wearing a helmet. Which as I mentioned I have, playing another collision sport that the opening post links to.

The differential is massive re rugby to gridiron due to the PPE and not just in head injuries but also traumatic injuries to other body parts, my brother who boxed in both eras of non headgear/compulsory head gear agrees, and the facts that there were massively more concussions in boxing during the headgear era proves without a doubt that risk homeostasis occurs and that the headgear was good for superficial wounds only (cuts).

Helmets are next to useless in anything other than genteel incidents were you are very unlikely to hit your head anyway, in cycling particularly, I read with amusement the 'I split my helmet', 'it was in three pieces' etc and then decree it saved their lives, yet they'll continue to spout this utter bunk/false logic!

*no loss of consciousness, no leg wobbling, just a second or so buzzing in head and a bit of blood and fractured teeth socket, the other guy was fine, his cheekbone was fine and he had a sizeable lump underneath his eye, no scars though, shame as chicks dig scars :lol:

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby pjclinch » 9 Sep 2019, 5:59pm

The utility cyclist wrote:how often have you played cricket without a helmet/watched your team mates with, boxed and had a good amateur brother who boxed in both eras of no headguard/headguard or worn pads and crash helmets to play collision sport and one collision sport without?
I have done all four, I've ridden motorbikes with/without helmets also, have you done any of that, if so how did you feel wearing protection not wearing?


And this is relevant to surfing how?

The utility cyclist wrote:I have kayaked as well, not loads and just for fun 20+ years ago, I didn't wear a helmet but then I don't do stuff out my depth that would cause me to have an incident, never having being in the drink proves my point. You also ignore that increasing your head size is likely why you whacked your head, the helmet made and does make matters worse, you have watched elite level kayaking right and others such as newbies when they dunk right?


And now you're an expert on an event that you weren't there for.
I was looped (i.e., turned over but end-to-end, not along the axis of the boat) and dumped down head first, i.e., dropped in to a shallow sea head first. So I was going to hit my head whatever happened, because I was dropped on to it.

The utility cyclist wrote:The helmet increases confusion and of course loads the head area with water making the head heavier particularly under water, not to mention the straps increasing chance of snagging under water, you know all those irregular objects submerged, the helmet itself could mean you getting wedged/whacked were an unhelmeted head would not, even less so IF because you're taking less risk means your less likely to be in that predicament in the first instance.


As I said before, you need to stop pontificating on stuff you're really not experienced in. If you whack someone hard on the head it tends to daze them a bit. That causes confusion. Avoiding this is quite good underwater, and it's why I always wear a helmet caving too. I'm less concered with whether I hit my head (I will) than whether it renders me a bit dizzy in a dangerous place. Where do people surf? that'll be sandy beaches. What are the "irregular objects submerged" on sandy beaches? That'll be... sand. Not very snaggy.
Your idea that there are clear choices of where to draw risk boundaries are farcical because waves vary considerably. The one that looped me was by far the largest there that day, I was in its path and a choice of try and go through (probably safer) or ride it in. I tried to go through, but I got looped. What was my low risk alternative there?

Your assumption that helmets are always bad, including in situations you have no experience of that don't relate that perfectly to ones where you do is a stuck record, and you undermine your actual valid points by being one.
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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby pjclinch » 10 Sep 2019, 9:56am

And another thing...

Risk compensation in relatively risky adventure sports is a different ball game to risk compensation in notionally safe everyday transport. I don't go surfing, climbing, skiing, caving etc. thinking they're everyday utilitarian activities, I do them because I like them and in some cases that means significant extra risk which, having bought in to wanting to do the activity and accepting the risk, I then compensate for that accepted risk with extra safety gear. It's still risk compensation, but it's part of the game and the alternative is not doing the activity. It's not "you'll choose more dangerous surf if you wear that helmet!", it's "I won't go surfing in my kayak without the helmet".

Risk compensation is a negative if we think we're getting safer with no downside. It can be a positive if it's a risk management tool allowing us to do things we want that we otherwise wouldn't.
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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby Mike Sales » 10 Sep 2019, 10:14am

pjclinch wrote:And another thing...

Risk compensation in relatively risky adventure sports is a different ball game to risk compensation in notionally safe everyday transport. I don't go surfing, climbing, skiing, caving etc. thinking they're everyday utilitarian activities, I do them because I like them and in some cases that means significant extra risk which, having bought in to wanting to do the activity and accepting the risk, I then compensate for that accepted risk with extra safety gear. It's still risk compensation, but it's part of the game and the alternative is not doing the activity. It's not "you'll choose more dangerous surf if you wear that helmet!", it's "I won't go surfing in my kayak without the helmet".

Risk compensation is a negative if we think we're getting safer with no downside. It can be a positive if it's a risk management tool allowing us to do things we want that we otherwise wouldn't.


Yes, you make an important point.
In the same way, helmets enable racing cyclists to descend faster at the same risk level. Though it should be understood that, in order compete, other racers then have to wear a lid, so there is no real gain, and injuries to other parts of the body may increase.
It is wrong that the everyday street has to be treated as a hostile environment, especially since any risk reduction benefit of helmets is consumed by less vulnerable road users, and cyclists are just, at best, maintaining the same risk level.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby pjclinch » 10 Sep 2019, 3:52pm

Mike Sales wrote:
pjclinch wrote:And another thing...

Risk compensation in relatively risky adventure sports is a different ball game to risk compensation in notionally safe everyday transport. I don't go surfing, climbing, skiing, caving etc. thinking they're everyday utilitarian activities, I do them because I like them and in some cases that means significant extra risk which, having bought in to wanting to do the activity and accepting the risk, I then compensate for that accepted risk with extra safety gear. It's still risk compensation, but it's part of the game and the alternative is not doing the activity. It's not "you'll choose more dangerous surf if you wear that helmet!", it's "I won't go surfing in my kayak without the helmet".

Risk compensation is a negative if we think we're getting safer with no downside. It can be a positive if it's a risk management tool allowing us to do things we want that we otherwise wouldn't.


Yes, you make an important point.
In the same way, helmets enable racing cyclists to descend faster at the same risk level.


At the same perceived risk level, I think it's important to say. As Chris Froome demonstrated earlier this year, if you ride in to a wall at a Considerable Of Speed it's going to go badly. I think things like disk brakes and better tyres probably do more to make people go faster because they change the risk profile of staying in control (and they do it by meaning you can go at it harder without losing it, but if you do get it wrong it'll go wronger). While a helmet may add to your aura or immortality it remains the case that if you crash you're unlikely to win, so you still don't want to crash. But a more capable bike means you can take more risks while telling yourself you won't come unstuck to start with.
I much prefer descending on my 'bent because I can go faster: better brakes, lower centre of mass. So, because those things let me take more risks (which offer I enthusiastically take up), are they bad in terms of overall safety? It's not a clear black and white answer, of course.

Another issue is that while helmet debates are often couched purely in terms of safety and life-saving efficacy (or lack thereof) the reality is that many are used for different reasons. In a sports context it's more a case of improving your chances of getting back on rather than sitting going "ow" with stars in your eyes and abandoning. MTB singletrack often involves low branches, easily brushed aside in a lid, not so much without one. Does doing that add to risk? Yes, but the point is you're not out there to reduce risk, you're out there to have fun.

Mike Sales wrote:It is wrong that the everyday street has to be treated as a hostile environment, especially since any risk reduction benefit of helmets is consumed by less vulnerable road users, and cyclists are just, at best, maintaining the same risk level.


Though again the case there's more to helmets than absolute risk reduction. If a lid gives you the psychological edge you need to get out there to start with, given the overall real (as opposed to perceived) risks of serious injury and the benefits of cycling it could be that taking that small extra level of risk actually boosts a rider's health and life expectancy considerably.
It would be better, of course, if nobody much needed that (as is the case in NL), and it would also help if people wearing them in such a manner didn't expend quite so much energy telling us how they're essential, we're morons not to wear them etc. etc.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby mattheus » 10 Sep 2019, 4:19pm

pjclinch wrote:

In the same way, helmets enable racing cyclists to descend faster at the same risk level.


At the same perceived risk level, I think it's important to say. As Chris Froome demonstrated earlier this year, if you ride in to a wall at a Considerable Of Speed it's going to go badly. I think things like disk brakes and better tyres probably do more to make people go faster because they change the risk profile of staying in control (and they do it by meaning you can go at it harder without losing it, but if you do get it wrong it'll go wronger). While a helmet may add to your aura or immortality it remains the case that if you crash you're unlikely to win, so you still don't want to crash. But a more capable bike means you can take more risks while telling yourself you won't come unstuck to start with.


<bold> not really true; in the pro peleton, riders expect to crash several times a season. the current leader (and favourite) at La Vuelta crashed in a big pile-up a couple of days ago.

Chris Froome has crashed in most of the Tours de France that he has won.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby Mike Sales » 10 Sep 2019, 4:51pm

mattheus wrote:
pjclinch wrote:

In the same way, helmets enable racing cyclists to descend faster at the same risk level.


At the same perceived risk level, I think it's important to say. As Chris Froome demonstrated earlier this year, if you ride in to a wall at a Considerable Of Speed it's going to go badly. I think things like disk brakes and better tyres probably do more to make people go faster because they change the risk profile of staying in control (and they do it by meaning you can go at it harder without losing it, but if you do get it wrong it'll go wronger). While a helmet may add to your aura or immortality it remains the case that if you crash you're unlikely to win, so you still don't want to crash. But a more capable bike means you can take more risks while telling yourself you won't come unstuck to start with.


<bold> not really true; in the pro peleton, riders expect to crash several times a season. the current leader (and favourite) at La Vuelta crashed in a big pile-up a couple of days ago.

Chris Froome has crashed in most of the Tours de France that he has won.


An occasional crash is seen as a an occupational hazard, especially if death can be avoided by means of a helmet.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby The utility cyclist » 10 Sep 2019, 8:27pm

The stats from at least one bit of research shows us that the pros are having more injuries in the helmet wearing era, what we know for sure is that there are more deaths per year in the helmet wearing era in the pro road cycling ranks and as I've said, that despite all the increases in safety on course, better brakes, grippier tyres, better handling bikes etc. So by definition helmets have had a detrimental affect to overall safety in the pro ranks, the number of crashes now even in amateur racing and indeed the club run (oh and also non cat organised races, sorry, sportif's :roll: ) is absolutely ridiculous. people keep denying what is actually happening and don't want to see how helmets have had a very real negative effect on injuries not to mention changing the environment and responsibility to be safe around people operating killing machines not to mention the justice system/compensation payouts.

PJCLINCH, if you can't see the relevancy then that's your problem, maybe get someone who does 'get it' explain it to you because it's all very relevant, you asked if I had surfed, you told me you kayaked and starting talking about your own scenario that you think you dodged a bullet due to wearing a helmet, I explained why IMO you were wrong in your thinking.
It doesn't matter if I do/do not do a particular activity, human beings react/act the same and the outcomes are the same when 'safety' attire is worn in all activities not just sport, we don't just see it visually but we see it in the data as well. In lab nonsense and blatant liars/twisters of truth like Jake Olivier and his pals who have been outed as producing weak/bias meta-analysis each and every time, are not reflective of real life. Even the Danish study 'proving' helmets prevent 60% of head injuries in kayaking and rock climbing - the study is linked in both their respective fields, is yet another example of their study defying the actuality in real term numbers.

Keep on ignoring common sense, logic and facts, you increase the chances of harm not only to yourself but the rest of us too.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby Tigerbiten » 10 Sep 2019, 9:15pm

Mike Sales wrote:An occasional crash is seen as a an occupational hazard, especially if death can be avoided by means of a helmet.

But is death being avoided by wearing a helmet or is it being offset till later in life ??

Most evidence like this paper shows a helmet reduces external visible damage but increases internal brain damage.
So are you only delaying any visible symptoms of the hits until later in life when you suffer an increased risk of dementia ??

YMMV ............ :cry:

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby Mike Sales » 10 Sep 2019, 9:23pm

Tigerbiten wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:An occasional crash is seen as a an occupational hazard, especially if death can be avoided by means of a helmet.

But is death being avoided by wearing a helmet or is it being offset till later in life ??

Most evidence like this paper shows a helmet reduces external visible damage but increases internal brain damage.
So are you only delaying any visible symptoms of the hits until later in life when you suffer an increased risk of dementia ??

YMMV ............ :cry:


Death is only ever postponed.
You raise an interesting question. I have never heard of studies of later dementia after lids have "saved" lives.
There must be some evidence of whether concussion can lead to dementia in later life, but I have no knowledge of that subject either.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby pjclinch » 10 Sep 2019, 9:30pm

The utility cyclist wrote:The stats from at least one bit of research shows us that the pros are having more injuries in the helmet wearing era, what we know for sure is that there are more deaths per year in the helmet wearing era in the pro road cycling ranks and as I've said, that despite all the increases in safety on course, better brakes, grippier tyres, better handling bikes etc. So by definition helmets have had a detrimental affect to overall safety in the pro ranks


"at least one" really isn't good enough to draw conclusions.
"More deaths per year" on its own tells you very little.
So helmets are bad because they cause risk compensation, but you blithely assume that better brakes can only be a safety benefit, despite research showing ABS brakes cause drivers to brake later and harder and confer no safety benefit.

So if that's your "by definition" an open and shut case against helmets then the news here is you are not very good at evaluating research.

The utility cyclist wrote:the number of crashes now even in amateur racing and indeed the club run (oh and also non cat organised races, sorry, sportif's :roll: ) is absolutely ridiculous. people keep denying what is actually happening and don't want to see how helmets have had a very real negative effect on injuries


Again, you persist in laying all the blame at one door despite other potential confounding factors. For example, with the rise of the born-again MAMIL you get a lot more relatively inexperienced riders in Chain Gangs who don't have the smarts and group riding skills for the job, so that might be a factor. As might be the aforementioned bike improvements which are also an area where risk compensation can cause problems, but you ignore all this and assume it must be all about helmets.

The utility cyclist wrote:PJCLINCH, if you can't see the relevancy then that's your problem, maybe get someone who does 'get it' explain it to you because it's all very relevant


Let's try, say, David Spiegelhalter, Winton Prof. of Public Understanding of Risk, who says it's as clear as mud, and that research and conclusions from it are contentious. But what would he know?

The utility cyclist wrote:It doesn't matter if I do/do not do a particular activity, human beings react/act the same and the outcomes are the same when 'safety' attire is worn in all activities not just sport, we don't just see it visually but we see it in the data as well.


And yet acknowledged risk experts like Spiegelhalter and Adams suggest it's all actually pretty murky, and you say it's clear cut. So write papers and I'll be happy to read them in the scientific literature (because science is a big chunk of my day job, and I have the skills and resources to evaluate it) and see if you really know what you're on about.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby pjclinch » 10 Sep 2019, 9:38pm

mattheus wrote:
pjclinch wrote:

In the same way, helmets enable racing cyclists to descend faster at the same risk level.


At the same perceived risk level, I think it's important to say. As Chris Froome demonstrated earlier this year, if you ride in to a wall at a Considerable Of Speed it's going to go badly. I think things like disk brakes and better tyres probably do more to make people go faster because they change the risk profile of staying in control (and they do it by meaning you can go at it harder without losing it, but if you do get it wrong it'll go wronger). While a helmet may add to your aura or immortality it remains the case that if you crash you're unlikely to win, so you still don't want to crash. But a more capable bike means you can take more risks while telling yourself you won't come unstuck to start with.


not really true; in the pro peleton, riders expect to crash several times a season. the current leader (and favourite) at La Vuelta crashed in a big pile-up a couple of days ago.

Chris Froome has crashed in most of the Tours de France that he has won.


Those are the rather special cases of Grand Tours where you have 21 individual races making up the total. Roglic didn't win the TTT where he crashed, and he didn't win the stage with the big pile up a couple of days ago where he crashed. Also the case that with 21 stages and a large peloton quite a lot of other folks have the chance to come down too.

People do come back from crashes and win, of course (Viviani in the Olympic Omnium, Archibald in the Madison where she broke her wrist, for example), but it's not generally held to be an odds-improving gambit. And if you do come down and have a finite window to get back on and in it'll help if you're not seeing stars, which if you hit your head going down is the sort of thing a helmet will do for you. Save your life, no, turn a big whack in to a small whack, yes. Which can be important in a race. Again, this isn't a major safety issue.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby Mike Sales » 10 Sep 2019, 9:44pm

Risk homeostasis is essentially a balancing of risk against reward.
The risk of losing a race may be important to a professional cyclist, but the risk of a disabling head injury or death weighs rather more heavily.

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Re: "Helmets don't eliminate concussions" American Football

Postby Tigerbiten » 11 Sep 2019, 12:38am

Mike Sales wrote:There must be some evidence of whether concussion can lead to dementia in later life, but I have no knowledge of that subject either.

The best "sport" with evidence of whether concussion can lead to dementia is boxing.
Look up being "punch drunk".
Bare knuckle boxers tend to get a lot of cuts to the face but not to much long term brain damage. Few punches thrown to to the head due to risk of hand damage.
Normal boxers get a lot fewer cuts but a lot more brain damage. Less risk of hand damage means you throw a lot more punches at the head while still trying to avoid being hit.
Amatuer boxers while in helmets got even fewer cuts as intended but suffered even more brain damage in the long run. It was a case of why dodge a lot of headshots when they cannot really "hurt" you but the force from the blows still got transmitted to the brain.

Luck ........ :cry: