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An assessment of headgear based on severity and likelihood of brain damage

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    An assessment of headgear based on severity and likelihood of brain damage

    After a bit of research, I have updated my physics and martial arts blog with an assessment of headgear and helmets based on severity and likelihood of brain damage the across several different sports.

    http://theamazingdoctorawesome.blogs...even-help.html

    The thirty second version is "Boxing and baseball headgear help reduce brain damage, but only slightly. Football headgear reduces brain injury only marginally more than the other two, but encourages much harder hits, resulting in a net increase in brain injury due to the headgear."

    Also, turn around and run away from headgear with a face guard on it.

    Thoughts? Personal experiences or anecdotes to add some color?
    Attached Files

    #2
    Anecdotally, I've been rocked pretty good while wearing those face shield headgears. Didn't really realize they were less safe though. It kinda makes sense that the pro-faceshield side thinks they're right- they get hit with a shield, it still sucks, but they come to the incorrect conclusion that it would actually be far worse without it.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Permalost View Post
      Anecdotally, I've been rocked pretty good while wearing those face shield headgears. Didn't really realize they were less safe though. It kinda makes sense that the pro-faceshield side thinks they're right- they get hit with a shield, it still sucks, but they come to the incorrect conclusion that it would actually be far worse without it.
      Yup. Same here. I had one years back, but took it off after a few nasty hits. I couldn't articulate why at the time, but it felt like something was wrong.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Permalost View Post
        Anecdotally, I've been rocked pretty good while wearing those face shield headgears. Didn't really realize they were less safe though. It kinda makes sense that the pro-faceshield side thinks they're right- they get hit with a shield, it still sucks, but they come to the incorrect conclusion that it would actually be far worse without it.
        The only argument I can see for pro face shield that makes sense is from a weapons training viewpoint where eye gouges are a frequent possibility. Even goggles or safety glasses might let a stray thrust sneak in. Also, the bony structure of the face and head are a bad place to take shots because of the risk of cuts. Of course, i'm sure we are learning toward empty hand head gear with this thread, but I have to be a douche and bring up why i'm right.

        Edit: I suppose I could add more relavent discussion by comparing hard head gear like lacrosse helmets for weapons training to fencing masks and lighter head protection.

        Comment


          #5
          A helmet that covers the face requires force to be distributed around the head (which is why you see the bars on a football helmet wrap around the sides).

          A flat surface helmet for protection doesn't so much redistribute the energy as much as it does create a hard surface where the energy impacts but does not penetrate (akin to safety glasses) where the force is still has transfer through the object and the wearer would feel it (head snaps back).

          The problem with fighting head gear is direction of attack. You would need a substance that could contract and disperse rapidly for absorbing impact while allowing it to expand again for the next impact. Almost a 'second' helmet on top of the first that could shift with the impact direction. Then one would have to consider hard surfaces damaging the opponent (a football helmet in kicboxing for instance) which almost begs for a helmet to be made out of some of that liquid goo stuff that was being put into gloves earlier.

          Problem is such an item would be expensive to create and by design would be difficult to manufacture. Which defaults it to being moot; but a better alternative is definitely needed.

          Comment


            #6
            In regards to boxing/Kickboxing you would think head gear would increase the brain damage factor as in theory one could take more shots to the head wearing one then if they didnt...

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jspeedy View Post
              The only argument I can see for pro face shield that makes sense is from a weapons training viewpoint where eye gouges are a frequent possibility. Even goggles or safety glasses might let a stray thrust sneak in. Also, the bony structure of the face and head are a bad place to take shots because of the risk of cuts. Of course, i'm sure we are learning toward empty hand head gear with this thread, but I have to be a douche and bring up why i'm right.

              Edit: I suppose I could add more relavent discussion by comparing hard head gear like lacrosse helmets for weapons training to fencing masks and lighter head protection.
              Yea, this assessment was on brain damage risk, which is typically only applicable to empty hand. Sticks, sharkies, rubber knives, etc. all have the ability to create local tissue damage and they may break bones, but they do not put you at high risk for brain damage. They fall into the high-energy, low-momentum category I mention briefly a couple of blog posts earlier.

              For that type of training I always use a fencing mask or filipino headgear, or racquetball goggles and a mouthguard if its foam or rubber knives.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jspeedy View Post
                The only argument I can see for pro face shield that makes sense is from a weapons training viewpoint where eye gouges are a frequent possibility. Even goggles or safety glasses might let a stray thrust sneak in. Also, the bony structure of the face and head are a bad place to take shots because of the risk of cuts. Of course, i'm sure we are learning toward empty hand head gear with this thread, but I have to be a douche and bring up why i'm right.

                Edit: I suppose I could add more relavent discussion by comparing hard head gear like lacrosse helmets for weapons training to fencing masks and lighter head protection.
                Yea, this assessment was on brain damage risk, which is typically only applicable to empty hand. Sticks, sharkies, rubber knives, etc. all have the ability to create local tissue damage and they may break bones, but they do not put you at high risk for brain damage. They fall into the high-energy, low-momentum category I mention briefly a couple of blog posts earlier.

                For that type of training I always use a fencing mask or filipino headgear, or racquetball goggles and a mouthguard if its foam or rubber knives.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Ignoscant View Post
                  A helmet that covers the face requires force to be distributed around the head (which is why you see the bars on a football helmet wrap around the sides).

                  ...
                  So the most important factor to consider when we are looking at brain damage is momentum transfer, and while we can do all sorts of fun stuff to redirect or spread out energy on impact, momentum is still conserved. Now, that's not to say all those other things don't protect us, they just protect us from other things, like cuts or broken bones.

                  This really leaves us with two main options for better protecting us from brain damage - either a) increase the mass of the head with heavy headgear, or b) provide stiffer support between the head and the body so a punch ends up knocking your whole body back instead of just your head.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Boydy83 View Post
                    In regards to boxing/Kickboxing you would think head gear would increase the brain damage factor as in theory one could take more shots to the head wearing one then if they didnt...
                    Absolutely. Of course, it is incredibly difficult to answer that question... would you rather be punched 2 times with some minimal protection, or once without...

                    But your argument is exactly the reason they will be pulling headgear for some olympic boxers in 2016. Well... the real rea$on is probably $omething different, but yea.

                    http://www.cbssports.com/olympics/st...spark-interest

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Dr_Awesome View Post
                      This really leaves us with two main options for better protecting us from brain damage - either a) increase the mass of the head with heavy headgear, or b) provide stiffer support between the head and the body so a punch ends up knocking your whole body back instead of just your head.
                      Like a light weight device that connects the head to the shoulders and acts akin to a 'reverse seatbelt' in that when the head moves it does so freely but when the head is snapped in a direction quickly the device 'locks' the head to the body and the impact is shifted through the body as a whole?

                      This may sound like a really stupid question - but does a neck brace reduce brain damage? Or am I not following properly.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Ignoscant View Post
                        You would need a substance that could contract and disperse rapidly for absorbing impact while allowing it to expand again for the next impact. Almost a 'second' helmet on top of the first that could shift with the impact direction.
                        I wonder if you start with something like this:

                        Then affix the face cage to the mask, offset forward just a bit, with springed channels along the sides of the head that allow the shield to compress back a bit (maybe an inch or so, with rather rigid springs). Such a modification would only help against punches to the front of the face though.

                        Originally posted by Ignoscant View Post
                        This may sound like a really stupid question - but does a neck brace reduce brain damage? Or am I not following properly.
                        IDK about brain damage, but in law enforcement training and zealous RBSD training where Redman/bulletman suits are used, cervical collars are often worn, because having everyone beat on you full power in padding can still be hard on the neck.

                        On the other hand, it seems that a cervical collar that keeps your neck from moving, while protecting the neck, may make impact to the head more pronounced, since the energy that would go into snapping the head back still needs to go somewhere. I've heard that the whipping of the head when its snapped back actually causes the brain to shake around more, making brain damage/concussion more likely. So I'm really not sure if a neck brace would help or hurt the head during impact. It'd most likely help the neck, though.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Ignoscant View Post
                          Like a light weight device that connects the head to the shoulders and acts akin to a 'reverse seatbelt' in that when the head moves it does so freely but when the head is snapped in a direction quickly the device 'locks' the head to the body and the impact is shifted through the body as a whole?

                          This may sound like a really stupid question - but does a neck brace reduce brain damage? Or am I not following properly.
                          Sounds like a good idea, but designing something like that definitely will not be easy. As for the neck brace, I really don't know. I feel like there are too many "what if"s, which usually means you just have to test it and see.

                          Originally posted by Permalost View Post
                          I wonder if you start with something like this:
                          Then affix the face cage to the mask, offset forward just a bit, with springed channels along the sides of the head that allow the shield to compress back a bit (maybe an inch or so, with rather rigid springs). Such a modification would only help against punches to the front of the face though.

                          IDK about brain damage, but in law enforcement training and zealous RBSD training where Redman/bulletman suits are used, cervical collars are often worn, because having everyone beat on you full power in padding can still be hard on the neck.
                          Yea... it seems like something could be done to give you rigidity when you need it, but it seems like solving this problem gets complicated very quickly.

                          That's interesting about the cervical collars... makes me wonder if supporting the neck ultimately helps or hurts.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            When I was teaching "padded attacker"-style self defense courses, I designed an impact suit along those lines; the helmet and neck brace/pad was build into the shoulder protection and the whole assembly was then affixed to the torso pad, so effectively, a shot to the helmet was dispersed right through the torso.

                            The practical downside was that you become ridiculously top-heavy and prone to being knocked down easily, but I never had my bell rung in that suit; full-power knees to the face just knocked me flat on my back, without even so much as a mild headache afterwards.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by DdlR View Post
                              When I was teaching "padded attacker"-style self defense courses, I designed an impact suit along those lines; the helmet and neck brace/pad was build into the shoulder protection and the whole assembly was then affixed to the torso pad, so effectively, a shot to the helmet was dispersed right through the torso.

                              The practical downside was that you become ridiculously top-heavy and prone to being knocked down easily, but I never had my bell rung in that suit; full-power knees to the face just knocked me flat on my back, without even so much as a mild headache afterwards.
                              That is awesome. Considering momentum is still conserved, just passed to your body, can I assume a right cross was enough to put you on your heels, if not on the floor? Also, did it put strain on your lower back?

                              I assume your mobility was impaired to a frustrating degree as well?

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