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senate subcommittee reigns in the helmet industry

This is the fourth post on the on-going investigation about the helmet industry's seemingly stagnant progress toward concussion prevention. After the rash of head and spinal injuries during this football season, and after some editorial digging by the press, we learned that there was absolutely no oversight or official regulatory standards. The only standards are self-imposed by the helmet industry itself through its  organization called Nocase . Today, the New York Times published another story citing the Consumer Products and Safety Commission's (CPSC) report to a Senate subcommittee. The Committee is asking Nocsae some tough questions about why the industry has not been more proactive in redesigning helmets to provide more protection against concussion. There are over 100,000 reported concussion injuries in high school football alone each year. The Committee has stated that they will meet in January at which time they will examine the latest technology and science and at which time they will be asking Nocsae some tough questions - like why over the last 30 years has helmet safely only concerned itself with skull fractures and not the more common injury, concussions? Previous research by myself revealed that many of the helmets used by our children are 20 years or older, and that even when refurbished, very little is done to assure that a helmet's integrity is not compromised. I keep asking this question - After 20 years of  being used for a battering ram - how could they still provide proper protection? Senator Tom Udal from New Mexico was very critical of the standards organization which is funded by the sporting industry.  He is quoted as saying, "we think the science is there, we think you can improve upon it, and go out and do it ... (T)hen you have a real pressure point." Once again the fear of lawsuits was raised as a reason why Nocsae hasn't moved forward under the guise that they will get sued if they try to enforce a standard. However, the Nocsae official present at the Committee hearing denied legal liability concerns as a reason for failure to create and enforce standards. Get it together Nocsae because this is not at all consistent with your prior statements. Congratulations to Senator Udal and this committees goals. The public has spoken and has been heard - now lets hope the bureaucracy doesn't break down at the next level. Stay tuned as I continue to follow and post on this issue. Dennis F Feeley

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