A study conducted by Alison Brooks, MD, MPH, aimed to investigate whether a particular brand of helmet or type of mouthguard affects an athlete’s risk of suffering a sports-related concussion. Brooks co-led a prospective cohort study of 2,288 high school football players over two seasons (2012 and 2013). The study compared the helmet brands of Riddell, Schutt and Xenith with purchase years of 2003 through 2013 and generic versus specialized or custom mouthguard types against the incidence and severity (days lost) for each sport-related concussion sustained.
According to an American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) news release, chi-square and t-tests were used to analyze incidence and Wilcoxon Rank Sum tests were used to determine severity. The results of the analysis showed that a total of 204 players sustained 208 sports-related concussions, which caused them to miss a median of 14 days. While helmet brand or age did not significantly affect the incidence or severity of the concussion, prior concussion as well as the use of specialized or custom mouthguards was associated with an increased incidence of injury.
The AMSSM news release notes that this is in contrast to manufacturers’ claims that a specific brand of helmet or type of mouthguard can significantly reduce the risk of concussion. A final multivariate regression analysis is in progress. The study, titled “Incidence of Sport-Related Concussion in High School Football Players: Effect of Helmets, Mouthguards, Previous Concussions, Years Playing Experience,” was presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the AMSSM.