Unequal, the leading provider of customized sports protective gear, is bringing awareness to March’s Brain Injury Awareness Month by focusing on safer play – putting concussion risk reduction at the forefront. According to The National Academies Press report on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth, female soccer claims the highest concussion rate of any sport among female athletes. It is time that players protect their heads like they protect their shins.
Dialogue on the epidemic in sports concussions takes center stage when considering brain injury factors. Concussions exist across a wide range of athletics and affect players of all ages. Yet even with increased awareness, little has been done to effectively reduce occurrences. Furthermore, not many parents think about traumatic brain injury when signing up their child to play soccer.
When parents and players think about concussions, they typically think about football and hockey; however, as stated, the one sport that commands the most conversation, due in part to its growing popularity, is soccer – specifically girls’ soccer. In a recent study published by British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that girls were 27 percent more likely to sustain a soccer injury than boys. Injury in a game vs. practice was 42 percent more common and concussions accounted for 18 percent of soccer injuries. From 2005-2014 both male and female soccer related concussion rates increased significantly, the report stated. Heading the ball, player-to-player contact and ground contact account for most soccer-related concussions.
“The alarming concussion rates among youth soccer players aren’t so surprising when you look at the recommended soccer essentials: soccer cleats, shin guards, mouth guards, water bottles, uniform, socks and shorts, practice t-shirts and shorts and a soccer ball,” said Rob Vito, founder and CEO of Unequal. “It’s just astonishing to me that no one ever seems to mention head protection. As parents, we wouldn’t dream of allowing our child to ride in a car without a seat belt, ski on a slope or ride a bike without a helmet. It’s time parents heed the wake-up call – protect your child’s head like you protect their shins.”
One particular product created by Unequal, their Unequal Halo 3, is helping reduce the risk of concussions that occur while playing soccer. It’s a high-tech headband made from military-grade materials that fits comfortably snug to the head while absorbing and dispersing impact force during contact (in many sports).
The Halo 3 is:
- FIFA Law 4 compliant (FIFA is the governing body for soccer’s rules of the game)
- Tested to ASTM F2439-11 (ASTM International is a global safety standards organization)
- A safer alternative: Industry standard lab results show severity index and peak acceleration data from Halo 3 testing are significantly lower when compared to tests with no protection
- Worn by World Cup athletes, elite club players, Division 1 college and university players as well as youngsters just starting out in the sport
- Part of a growing movement for safer play among soccer clubs across the nation
“Our research shows that parents of young soccer players are largely unaware of soccer’s concussion risks. Until parents, players, coaches and clubs begin demanding head protection, I am afraid that soccer’s concussion rates will continue to rise,” Vito said.
Girls are more likely to experience concussions than boys
Researchers on behalf of the nonprofit FAIR Health found that for every 10,000 athlete exposures – a student participating in a soccer game or practice – there were 4.5 concussions among girls and 2.8 among boys. The study found the rates of concussions in both boys’ and girls’ high school soccer has risen sharply over the nine-year study period. Girls’ soccer claims the highest concussion rate for all female youth sports.
Symptoms of brain injury
Teaching parents, coaches and players how to better recognize symptoms is imperative in preventing long-term brain injury as a result of a concussion. A person suffering from a concussion may immediately lose consciousness; however, this does not always occur and is not the only indication of brain injury.
Short-term effects of concussion can include headache, vertigo, depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, slow reaction time and a number of other physical, emotional and cognitive abnormalities. Furthermore, these effects may appear immediately or weeks after the blow occurs, and duration can vary. In serious or repeated cases, an individual may suffer long-term consequences, including long-term memory loss, emotional distress, slowing of some types of movements, chronic depression and even traumatic brain injury. For more information, please visit the CDC Head’s Up Concussion site.
The effect of concussions on a developing brain
While much research has been undertaken on the effect of concussions, little has been done on the effects of concussions on a developing brain. However, some studies have shown that when compared to collegiate and professional athletes, younger athletes tend to experience these symptoms with greater severity and also take longer to recover. Thus, as prevention cannot be guaranteed, there is an imperative need to reduce the risk of concussions in youth sports by wearing protective head gear like the Unequal Halo.
Unequal approaches the dangers of soccer in a different way, by taking technology used on the battlefield and adapting if for the sports field with its High Acceleration Reduction Technology (HART®). Unequal’s military-grade products are ultra-light and ultra-thin. They work differently than virtually every other traditional foam and plastic of equal weight and thickness on the market by absorbing, dispersing and dissipating energy from an impact away from the body to provide the ultimate in protection. It allows for greater protection without compromising mobility, so athletes can play more at their peak level.
“A seat belt worn won’t prevent injury or death, but it will help reduce the risk – just like the Unequal Halo,” said Vito. “The Unequal Halo won’t prevent concussions – nothing will, but it will go a long way towards reducing the risk of concussions.”
The Unequal Halo is available at http://unequal.com/shop/halo and soccer specialty retailers across the country. The Unequal Halo is priced at $39.99 -$49.95. To learn more about Unequal products or Unequal, visit www.unequal.com.
Invented by company founder and CEO Rob Vito, Unequal® is military-grade protection that has been modified for sport. Based in PA, with over 100 patents in the U.S. and abroad, Unequal is fortified with technology like no other. From the World Cup to the NFL to collegiate and high school players, Unequal protects the best. Unequal is well on its way to becoming a standard in football, soccer and other high-impact sports. Their military-grade composites are built with TriDur™, Accelleron® and optional ImpacShield™.
This ultra-light, ultra-thin athletic gear works differently than virtually every other traditional foam and plastic of equal weight and thickness on the market by absorbing, dispersing and dissipating energy from an impact away from the body to provide the ultimate protection. It allows for greater protection without compromising mobility, so athletes can play more at their peak level. For more information on Unequal go to www.Unequal.com or follow them on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/UnequalTech or like them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/UnequalTechnologies/.