Not so thick-headed

. February 11, 2013.

As football season draws to a close and hockey skates begin to hit the ice, safety begins from inside the helmet. According to the The University of Michigan Health Systems, sports injuries can be prevented, even predicted. “The use of helmets is essential even for recreational skating,” said Nick Vitucci, head coach of the Toledo Walleye. Youth hockey teams aren’t permitted to hit one another until 12 years of age. “Teams and hockey associations go to great lengths to educate players on head safety,” said Vitucci. Youth hockey teams are not allowed to hit from behind and jerseys often have STOP signs on the back as a reminder of the off-limits position. Players of any age are most vulnerable when hitting the sideboards. Coaches and trainers teach players to brace themselves to absorb a hit. Also, swiveling the head so players can see what’s coming is recommended. Protecting the top of the head is most important. Several college and professional teams have turned to accelerometers inside players’ helmets, which measure force and locate every impact to the skull. Accelerometers are also used to pinpoint players whose brains absorb more impact than normal and to identify dangerous hitting techniques. While some players have been dismissive of the equipment that records the moves that make them stand out, every chance to discuss and protect heads from trauma and concussions is essential.