The Helmet Epidemic

Remember growing up and playing sports outside with no remorse for our bodies? We would basically shoot hockey pucks at each other not caring about whether it hits the other person or the neighbors car. Eventually people started getting hurt and being soft so the companies had to take precautions so us puck bunnies don’t get hurt. Im Currently rocking a Bauer 4500 which apparently was a good bucket on ya head in like 2014. But hey If its not broken then why get rid of it. I started thinking about how helmet regulations even start for some odd reason, so I dove into it a little bit and found very interesting stuff about the helmet epidemic.. Think about how easy it was getting hurt when we skated around our parents garage ripping shots at the wall. At the rink it was a little different though and we got yelled at for not wearing our helmet on the ice, which is understandable because that ice doesn’t bounce back when you hit it because your teammate tossed you a buddy pass. I started looking at the numbers and science about the issue of possible head injuries from this beauty of a sport because I’m a curious guy and found rather alarming info.

“BIG hit” by R.A. Killmer is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

The National Library of medicine took note of how frequent concussions are in the NHL let alone the entire USA hockey players out there. They stated when talking about concussions that ” concussions occur at all skill and age levels but in hockey, and have been reported to account for 2-14% of all hockey injuries.” (Jason Izraelski 2014). Out of the entire body the head is the most sensitive spot, and for the number to be 14% out of all injuries possible really makes you think. That encouraged me to look a little deeper and find out for myself what ways there are to protect from getting severe concussions, and it all has to do with the helmet. Its more complex than people think, I mean come on this sport revolves around dudes with sharp blades on their feet throwing all their body wait into one another, you need some kind of protection don’t you?

A Virginia Tech Research team recently passed their first ever 5 star rating for a current release of a Helmet, the CCM Fitlite 500, and it left consumers wanting it by high demand. This helmet was the first ever 5 star rating for its protection advances, durability and stability, it is the ideal helmet. I learned that before a helmet gets released, it must go through an impact-protection test. It makes me feel safer for this dangerous sport knowing that these companies are actually looking out for our best interest and not just making mediocre projects.

“Helmet Concepts” by Steve Copeland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

One thing that did catch my eye was the improvements the companies like CCM made to their recent helmets. For example, the energy coming from a blow to the head is absorbed into the padding system better and lowers the chance of getting your bell rung. These new designs are created to cradle the head inside the helmet when hitting a hard surface, the glass, the ice, body etc.. I have taken plenty of dirty cheap shots through out my career and I’ll be the first to say that it is not fun getting a Canadian Sun Tan. For the non-puck players, thats where you get decked and you’re laying on the ice in la la land staring at the lights in the rafters. Major companies Like Bauer, CCM, Warrior, Easton etc.. all have started implementing a stricter more protective way of creating new models within the past couple years. On top of that, they are making the More expensive helmets adjustable to any head shape, so all types of people are offered top of the line protection.

All in all I am happy to see the improvements being made to this awesome sport, and that safety is more of a protocol now than ever. So I guess coach Sporer yelling at me to put on my helmet at the rink all the time was him really just looking out for me. This sport is definitely more dangerous than people think it is, anything is possible.

Eric Zeigler 2020

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