If you’re going to play football, it’s important to be protected. That includes wearing a football helmet. “Football players are susceptible to concussions. A concussion is a change in mental state due to a traumatic impact,” says Dr. Daniel Green, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon. “It’s important to know how to protect yourself and to know the signs of a concussion and how to respond. This is especially important for kids, because their brains are still rapidly developing.”
“Not all those who suffer a concussion will lose consciousness,” explains Dr. Green. “Some signs that a concussion has been sustained are headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, drowsiness, numbness, tingling, difficulty concentrating, and blurry vision. An athlete should return to play only when clearance is granted by a health care professional. A helmet can help protect against concussion, but make sure your helmet is up to the proper standards.” Here are some tips:
1. To choose a helmet size, measure the head’s circumference using a cloth measuring tape about 1-inch above the eyebrows. There should be a measurement on the helmet that matches the head size. Before putting a helmet on, make sure it is the correct size–helmets can get mixed up during a game.
2. Check the fit of interior helmet pads. Face pads should first touch the temples when pulling the helmet down over the head.
3. Never wear a helmet too low or too tight- pressure should be on the crown of the head not the brow.
4. Fit the chinstrap properly. Chin straps should be centered under the chin and should fit well so that the player’s chin feels secure.
5. Replace a cracked or otherwise compromised helmet immediately.
Dr. Daniel Green specializes in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery. He is currently director of the pediatric sports program for the Division of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery at HSS. Dr. Green’s focus is to provide the finest, most advanced orthopedic care available, with expertise in areas such as pediatric sports injuries, pediatric fractures, and dislocations.