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Helmets preventing concussion is unknown

Photo: Helmets may not stop concussion says prof
A University of Queensland professor says parents should not think that helmets will prevent children suffering concussion on the sports field.

Helmets will protect the head and face from the impact of a jarring collision or a thundering cricket ball but they are unlikely to prevent concussion, says an expert from the Queensland Brain Institute.

Professor Pankaj Sah told AAP that helmets have their place in sport but they should not be viewed as an apparatus that prevents concussion.

"Helmets are good and they have some benefit but how much benefit they have preventing concussion is unknown because the brain still bounces around," Prof Sah said.
"There is no doubt it still helps, but it's one of those things that were brought in because people were having injuries in sport and it was felt by the sporting communities and codes that you needed some protection.

"Quite apart from concussion, it does protect (against) all the damage you get from your head and face from impact, especially cricket, it's an obvious one."

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), at the University Of Queensland, is seeking funding for a new initiative to study the long-term effects of concussion.

The program will initially run for three years and involves determining the effects of serious head knocks during an active career.

The study includes saliva and blood tests and brain scans.

Already, Brisbane's GPS and University rugby union clubs have signed on to the program which requires players to volunteer for a scan and then return for follow-up tests if they get concussed during the season.

"What could change with this study is how you treat people with mild concussion and the impact it has on their career," he said

The #nobrainnogame campaign has the support of Australian Athlete Alliance and its ambassadors include former Brisbane Lion Justin Clarke, NRL legend Steve Renouf and ex-Wallaby David Croft.

Prof Sah said it was not the intention of QBI to try and change the way sport is played but to find new remedies and treatment for concussion beyond just rest and relaxation.

"We have absolutely zero intention of changing the sport.

"The impact of sport on general health and fitness far outweighs any effects you might get from concussion."

"What has not happened is long-term studies of concussion and the funds raised will establish a centre to study concussion and traumatic brain injury."


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