Football and Head Injuries: No Device Eliminates Concussion Risk, Experts Say


Unequal Technologies' product tests were conducted at the Southern Impact Research Center in Rockford, Tenn., one of the nation's leading testing labs for sports equipment. Engineer Dave Halstead, the lab's technical director, said it's important to understand that helmets have come a long way in keeping players safe from a certain kind of head injury, the kind caused by direct, linear force.

But when asked if there was a device or an add-on currently on the market that can fully protect players' from the risk of head injury, Halstead said "absolutely not."

"That magic bullet, that if you just do this you can continue to play the way you are and you're immune from injury, it just doesn't work," he said. "There is no such device."

The modern helmet already offers excellent protection against direct hits, which produce sharp, linear forces against the skull.

But many doctors believe sports-induced concussions are caused by shearing, rotational forces, which occur when the head snaps back and swerves around on the neck, slamming the brain against the inside of the skull.

There is no proof that products like Unequal Technologies' strips protect against those injuries -- the ones suspected of frequently causing concussions.

Halstead's testing did show that the Unequal strips can reduce the severity of a linear, direct impact from some angles, but not from others. But even Vito acknowledged he cannot prove those results reduce the risk of concussions.

"No, we can't make that claim at this point, it's too early on," he said.

But Vito said his company only claims to "help reduce the possibility of head injury," adding, "We never mention the word 'concussion,'" although the product's name is "Concussion Reduction Technology."

"There might be some confusion," Vito acknowledged, maintaining that his company is not claiming its product reduce concussions, saying, "One is a name and one is a claim and our claim is that we help reduce the possibility of head injury."

After the ABC News interview, Unequal Technologies sent "Nightline" what it said would be the new packaging for its product, which says just "CRT" now, The words "Concussion Reduction Technology" have been removed.

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