Small Hits Can Become a Big Problem for Football Players

If you get your “bell rung” while playing football, athletic trainers and coaches are becoming more and more quick and efficient to diagnose a possible concussion and keep players off the field. With degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (or CTE) being found in more and more football players, the caution has been at an all time high for football players.

But there’s a common misconception that players only receive concussions after significant hits to the head.

A new study from Boston University of Medicine, which was published in the journal “Brain”, found that brains from four teenage boys — all whom suffered a hit to the head– did not have a history of a known concussions. Yet, all the teenage boys had early signs of CTE.

The cause of this, as was found in the study, is believed to be from players sustaining small, yet frequent hits to the head.

“Right at that moment, right when they’ve had that injury,” said Lee E. Goldstein, MD, PhD., the Boston professor who was a corresponding author of the study. “We’re already starting to see, it’s kicking off that process that will lead to CTE years to decades later.”

This research further expands on the many former football players diagnosed after death with CTE. These football players’ brains showed that about 20 percent had no known history of a concussion.

Mice were used to recreate head trauma, which showed the starting signs of CTE and how it relates to traumatic brain injuries (TBI), concussions and subconcussive head injuries.

“The same brain pathology that we observed in teenagers after head injury was also present in head-injured mice. We were surprised that the brain pathology was unrelated to signs of concussion, including altered arousal and impaired balance, among others. Our findings provide strong causal evidence linking head impact to TBI and early CTE, independent of concussion,” Goldstein said. “The results may explain why approximately 20 percent of athletes with CTE never suffered a diagnosed concussion.”

This can occur frequently in the trenches, whether it be offensive or defensive linemen, who hit each other on each down repeatedly. While players might not suffer directly from concussions, TBI is something that these players are believed to have had, according to the study, yet they are going unnoticed.

Small, yet repetitive hits often referred to as “sub-concussive” blows, thus concluded, could lead to problems with CTE and brain trauma for players that constantly battle it out in the tackle box, like linemen.

Instead of fearing the sport and its seemingly violent culture, there has already been scientifically leading problem-solvers to different head traumas. A company like 2nd Skull aims to help football players reduce the impact of blows to the head through a comfortable, yet safe accessory like its skull cap or headband.

2nd Skull is a performance tested headwear which athletes use to help in contact sports, like football. For those that constantly experience contact, or in this case, constant hits and blocks by linemen, there is a skull cap, which is worn underneath the helmet to maximize the support to the entire skull in order to protect the athlete from blows to the head. 2nd Skull also has a stylish, yet comfortable lightweight headband that can also be worn by football players when they are doing non-contact practice drills or 7 on 7.

2nd Skull is equipped with a thin layer of XRD—a lightweight feature made for extreme protection with the use of urethane molecules that harden under pressure.




There’s no changing the past for players, but there is hope for the future. Preventive measures like 2nd Skull should be a mandatory product for all football players because the brain can not be replaced. 2nd Skull is here to help.


More about 2nd Skull

The 2nd Skull products provide extra protection, featuring a thin layer of XRD® Technology, which is a high-quality energy absorbing material. The urethane molecules made inside the material work as a soft and flexible fabric, which suddenly harden under immediate pressure. Both the band and the cap have been extensively tested for safety measures. Through different biomechanical testing at independant labs in North America and the United Kingdom, the skull cap, when worn under athletic helmets, lowers both rotational and linear impact thereby improving the performance of the helmet.

2nd Skull won the NFL HeadHealth TECH II Challenge and was named to the Sports Tech Awards shortlists as one of the Most Innovative Sports Equipment or Apparel products. The caps and headbands are designed to be both effective in reducing impacts and geared for comfort, with an antimicrobial and moisture wicking fabric cover.  For a 2nd Skull product that best tailors to your sport, visit their website and order directly from them as well.

Note: Scientists have not reached agreement on how the results of impact absorption tests relate to neck, head, or brain injuries, including concussions.  No conclusions about a reduction of risk or severity of neck, head, or brain injuries, including concussions, should be drawn from impact absorption tests.