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How Do Helmets Protect Football Players?

posted: 09/12/15
by: Discovery.com Staff

It's no secret that football can be a dangerous sport: a 2014 study found that 96% of deceased NFL players suffered from brain disease at the time of their death.

Because the brain isn't anchored into the skull, an unexpected impact -- especially to the head -- can cause an athlete's brain to bounce back and forth within his/her skull.

"This sudden movement of the brain causes stretching, damaging the cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. Once these changes occur, the brain is more vulnerable to further injury and sensitive to any increased stress until it fully recovers," the Centers for Disease Control explains.

Football helmets are a player's first line of defense against concussions and other neurological issues. In the past century, the technology behind football helmets as come a long way -- believe it or not, there was a time when athletes took to the field without any sort of head protection.

Join the American Chemical Society as they take a look back at the history of football helmets and investigate how technology has helped us better protect athletes:

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