New York’s Attorney General Tells Consumers Not to Fall for Football Helmet Manufacturers’ Claims of Reducing the Risk of Concussion; Parker Waichman LLP Responds

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New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a consumer safety alert on Sept. 5 that was designed primarily to warn parents of children who play football that they can’t rely on helmet makers’ claims that their product can reduce the risk of concussion. Parker Waichman LLP, which evaluates personal injury lawsuits on an ongoing basis, responds.

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If a company is on the market using advertising or promotional activity to tout claims regarding football helmets with ‘anti-concussive’ or ‘concussion-proof’ properties, we would certainly want to be the first to know about them.

Parker Waichman LLP, which evaluates personal injury lawsuits on an ongoing basis, takes note of New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s recent comments about football helmet safety and the dangers of concussion as they relate to children who engage in the sport. Noting that a key concern of his office is “[e]nsuring that manufacturers don’t mislead the public and endanger young New Yorkers,” he said in the statement: “Remember that no helmet can prevent a concussion. Claims or representations that a particular helmet is anti-concussive or concussion-proof can be misleading and even dangerous. Reliance on promotional claims about this technology may give players and parents a false sense of security, which could lead a player to taking more risks.”

Currently no helmet safety standards are concussion-specific, according to the attorney general. Football helmet performance standards are voluntary and were created by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). These standards were designed to prevent skull fractures and do not address the risk of concussion, according to the statement.

Some manufacturers are promoting after-market “add-ons” to helmets that are claimed to reduce the chances of a player getting a concussion, the attorney general states. Such tertiary items include liners, padding, bumpers, pads and other enhancements. However, as the attorney general also noted, earlier this year, on August 7, 2013, NOCSAE issued a statement to remind leagues, coaches and parents that “regardless of the truth of such claims, devices that attach to the outside of the helmet change the model, by definition, and may void NOCSAE certification.”

“We applaud the attorney general’s efforts to focus the spotlight on football helmet safety for children,” said Parker Waichman LLP. “If a company is on the market using advertising or promotional activity to tout claims regarding football helmets with ‘anti-concussive’ or ‘concussion-proof’ properties, we would certainly want to be the first to know about them, as such claims would be ‘misleading and even dangerous,’ to use the attorney general’s words, which we agree with.”

The attorney general also provided in his press release this handy list of important things to know about concussions:

  • Players, parents and coaches must be trained to see the symptoms and risks of concussion.
  • It is extremely important to recognize the signs of concussion and remove the player immediately from the game.
  • New York State law requires that players be removed from play until they are asymptomatic for a minimum of 24 hours and have written approval from their physician to return to play.
  • The number of concussions can be significantly reduced with modifications to practice format – such as learning to avoid head-on “collisions” on the field of play.
  • Reducing the number of hits is instrumental to reducing the risk of concussion because of the cumulative risk from repeated hits. Limit the amount of contact in practice and forbid drills that involve full-speed, head-on blocking and tackling that begins with players lined up more than three yards apart.
  • Players need to be trained to focus on techniques that minimize head-to-head hits. Coaches and referees must strictly enforce penalties against such behavior.

If you purchased a football helmet, bicycle helmet, motorcycle helmet or another type of helmet based on claims that it would lessen your risk of getting a concussion, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP urges you to contact the firm by visiting our helmet safety/concussion page. Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

Contact:
Parker Waichman LLP
Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney
1-(800) LAW-INFO
1-(800) 529-4636
http://www.yourlawyer.com

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Gary Falkowitz
Parker Waichman LLP

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