Concussions and other head injuries resulting from sports remain high, and a new helmet called the Gamebreaker aims to reduce the risk of injury in non-contact sports, such as soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, water polo and flag football. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, with a protective design and a passing grade from a professor at UCLA, the Gamebreaker could help reduce the number of dangerous head injuries in young sports players.
The Gamebreaker Helmets, which are made in Taiwan and distributed out of Newbury Park, are essentially protective caps with a Lycra outer shell, foam inserts that cushion impacts, and a chin strap and laces for custom fitting on the player. Mike Juels, who founded Gamebreaker with former NFL player Joey LaRocque, explains that they went through “extensive testing with these helmets to get the right material that would be lightweight, flexible and washable while at the same time offer a good level of protection to the end user.”
Although non-contact sports don’t have the same hard hits as college and professional tackle football, players are still running down the field at full speed and remain at risk for head injuries from accidental collisions or falls. Concussions and other head injuries in athletes remain a major concern, and Dr. Steven D. Shwartz notes how concussions are hard to diagnose in kids because they tend to hide them in order to remain in the game.
Dr. Shwartz, the Ahmanson professor of ophthalmology at UCLA and father of a football player on an elite passing team, did an informal test on how well the Gamebreaker helmets performed. After lab testing, Dr. Shwartz noted that the helmets reduced impact on all different parts of the skull by 40 to 60 percent and is also much more forgiving than hard shell design helmets used in tackle football.
Gamebreaker’s official website notes how no helmet can protect the wearer against all foreseeable impacts. In order for the helmets to be effective the helmet must be of good fit and securely fastened. If the helmet receives a severe impact, the website urges athletes to return it to the retailer or manufacturer for inspection, as the energy of an impact may be absorbed through its partial destruction.
Concussions and head injuries are possible in a variety of sports at both amateur and professional levels and can lead to long-term problems in the future. LaRocque, who suffered from back injuries and a fractured sternum when he played in the NFL, remembers seeing young players entering adulthood going at full speed and not having the ability to control their bodies, which led to injuries. By designing the lightweight Gamebreaker, kids don’t realize they’re wearing protection and it still “gives them the opportunity to be as safe as possible.”