“When the researchers compared the rates of concussions for each type of helmet, they found essentially no difference by brand or by year made. The rate of concussions for players wearing Riddell helmets (the most popular brand in the study) was 9.5%; while the rate for players wearing Schutt helmets was 8.1% and the rate for players wearing Xenith helmets was 6.7%. There was no statistically significant difference in those figures, the team reported.
Nor was there any difference in the severity of concussions, as measured by the number of days players had to sit out (13.5, on average, for those wearing Riddell and Xenith helmets and 13 for players wearing Schutt helmets).
In addition, the concussion rate for helmets made in 2011 or 2012 was 9.3%, which was statistically indistinguishable from the 7.9% rate for helmets made in 2009 and 2010 or the 8.8% rate for helmets that were even older than that.
There was a surprising safety difference when it came to mouth guards. The data showed that the 39% of players who wore “specialized mouth guards” that were “custom fitted by dental professionals or specifically marketed to reduce” the risk of sports-related concussions were actually 90% more likely to experience a concussion than the 61% of players who used generic mouth guards during the 2012 football season.
The researchers noted that their findings were “contrary to manufacturer claims” that specific equipment could protect football players from concussions, which occur approximately 40,000 times per year among high school players in the U.S.” [see the article by Karen Kaplan, Los Angles Times, Oct 28, 2013]