Friday, September 21, 2007

Of A Revolution...

Let’s start with the basic technological advances in the original Riddell Revolution helmet. There is a true curved poly-carbonate plastic shell, with four inflation points for inflatable bladder pads inside the helmet itself. There is a piece that wraps around the entire head called the Back, Neck, and Side liner, a crown liner is the pad that sits on the actual head itself, and the jaw pads were replaced with Z-pads. Now the inflation feature for the helmet does not necessarily increase the amount of protection on a players head, it is used more for custom fitting purposes. However, you gots ta think that that air adds some extra protection in one way or another.

Moving on… the helmets true curved shell allows the helmet to deflect any direct impact on the helmet itself. The facemask is fully integrated into the helmet, with rubber grommets that serve as shock absorbers and the mask is integrated to the mandible jaw region of the face. It is that region of the head where 70% of concussions occur, usually resulting from the player’s helmet moving from the optimal position on a player’s head (about one inch above the eyebrows).

Now since the facemask is integrated into the shell of the helmet, it now serves as a major factor in the shock absorption process for the helmet which allows any energy that the true curved shell did not absorb, to be absorbed by the facemask. If there is still any energy that the helmet was not able to deflect and that the facemask was unable to absorb, the rubber grommets will absorb that energy. Sounds good so far right?

Ok, time to talk inside of the helmet a little more. Inside the helmet we already mentioned the 4 inflation points on an Adult Revolution helmet (there are 3 on a youth, the crown liner is not inflatable, but can upgrade to that feature). On the back of everyone’s head there is this little sharp bump. That bump is called the occipital lobe. Now, there is a place in the back of the Revolution helmet cut into the back, neck, and side liner that allows the helmet to lock it into its proper position on the head. This is done by the mid/high hookup on the chin strap. The chin strap locks the helmet in place with the occipital lobe. Also, pretty good huh?

That sounds like a pretty decent helmet to me. Actually, it sounds like a no-brainer to me. All youth football teams should implement rules into their bylaws saying that all players must wear concussion reduction helmets. There is the Riddell Revolution, the Schutt DNA (talk about a piece of Schutt…), and the Champ Pro (no one wears this, well someone has to wear it or they’d go out of business, but no one worthy of noting). Personally, I feel that the only helmet worthy of being called a concussion reducing helmet is the Riddell Revolution.

It really pisses me off that youth organizations try to run these teams by getting them cheap, crappy helmets, based only on one factor: price. Take organization A for example. They are a startup youth football team, in the Pop-Warner Football League. Now, they are not required by the league to purchase any type of equipment, but those who are financing the team say that each player is required to wear some type of concussion reducing helmet. Then let’s take organization B for another example. They are a startup youth football team in the CYO football league. They are part of a local school and they just purchase whatever is the most cost effective purchasing strategy. Which team will be better off?

The teams wear basically the exact same stuff. However, did organization B actually save money? No. Look at it this way: You can get a standard Adams helmet for about $75/helmet. Correction, you get an Adams helmet shell for $75. Did organization A waste money on “better” equipment? No. Look at it this way: You can get a fully upgraded Youth Revolution helmet for $105. What is more important the wellness of your son’s head, or saving $30 so you are under budget? This is a stupid. PERIOD. Ok I’ll take it one step further for you. Take that $30 that you’d “save” by purchasing more economical football equipment. $30 times 25 players is $750 that you could save, sounds great huh? Well how hard is it for a group of 25 players to have a car wash, a bakes sale, or a simple fund raiser? Not very hard.

League Presidents and Athletic Directors, consider your athlete’s futures. Hell the parents would probably give you the extra $30 themselves just to put their son in a better piece of equipment. The National Federation of State High School Associations have revised their policies relating to this, so why don’t you do it too? Let’s admit it, you basically do whatever they do, so why not just setup and do it before someone makes you do it. Show you care, you teach the kids how to play, so let them keep playing.

I just want to conclude this by mentioning some research findings from the University of Pittsburgh. The Riddell Revolution is the only helmet tested to reduce the likelihood of a football player (of any age) receiving a concussion. If you have never had a concussion in your life before, the Revolution will reduce the likelihood of you getting one while playing football by 41%. Also, if you have already received a concussion, no matter if it came from playing football or doing whatever, the Revolution will reduce the risk of you receiving another concussion from playing football by 31%. Those are some pretty tough facts to dispute; so I challenge you League Presidents and Athletic Directors, put your players in equipment that you would feel safe wearing to play football, not what is cost effective.

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