It is hard to imagine, but there once was a time where football players did not wear helmets. The last NFL player to play in a game without a helmet is known to be Dick Plasman in 1940 for the Chicago Bears. Since the 1940’s, helmets have been required in all levels of football. Helmets have evolved from leather helmets, to plastic helmets, and to the new “high tech” helmets that football players wear now. Riddell, the manufacturer of the helmets, have scientists working to make the most optimal helmet that is still light in weight, but can still protect the athletes. Now, one helmet expert seems to have a solution to this concussion problem in football. Magnets.
Raymond Colello, an avid football fan and a neuroscientist at Virginia Commonwealth University, started thinking to himself that “concussions may ultimately destroy football itself”. Also given the fact that youth signups for football keep dropping every year, and the movie Concussion with Will Smith sure did not help either.
So Dr. Colello had an idea. The idea started when he was staring at the magnets on his refrigerator. He thought to himself, “You need some sort of force fields around these guys. Maybe a repulsive force could possibly work”. About 60% of concussions in football are from helmet to helmet hits. Today’s helmets “reduces concussions by deflecting some energy after the impact occurs”(Wheeling). Dr. Collelo hypothesized that magnets in helmets could “extend the impact zone beyond the hard shell of the players’ helmets, slowing down the collision before it happens”.
Dr. Colello wants to place a magnet made out of Neodymium, a lightweight magnet, in front of each helmet. He thinks, in doing this, the magnets could reduce the force of a 140G hit to 88G’s. For reference, a rollercoaster tops out at 5 G’s.
I think that if Dr.Colello can prove this, the NFL has no choice but to accept it. There is no chance that the NFL or youth football will have the solution to brain damage right in front of them and just ignore it. Dr.Collelo might have possible found a way to save the game he loves.