Study – Concussion “Preventing” Sports Equipment Of “No Effect”

Posted: June 7, 2016 in Safety Studies, Uncategorized

In my latest review of safety studies in the world of combative sports, a recent article was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine finding concussion ‘preventing’ sports equipment has ‘no effect’.
In the recent study, titled “Current State of Concussion Prevention Strategies: a systemic review and meta-analysis of prospective, controlled studies” the authors evaluated 14 studies reviewing the effects of “novel protective equipment“.  They concluded that while some equipment was effective in reducing “superficial head injury” (think cuts and bruises) when it came to concussion prevention the equipment “showed no effect of intervention“.

The study’s full abstract is reproduced below:

Abstract

Objective The aim of the current review was to systematically identify, evaluate and synthesise trials that examine concussion prevention via equipment, educational programmes and training programmes.

Data sources PubMed and EBSCO host (CINAHL, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus).

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies The electronic databases PubMed and EBSCO were searched using the phrases: concussion prevention equipment, concussion prevention trainingand concussion prevention education. Included studies utilised a prospective study design to evaluate the preventative effect of: (1) equipment, (2) training or (3) educational programmes on the incidence of concussions in comparison to a control group.

Data extraction Demographic data and intervention methods were recorded. Intervention and control group concussion rates and superficial head injury rates were extracted and combined using random-effects relative risk meta-analysis.

Results 14 studies evaluated interventions of novel protective equipment. One prospective investigation evaluated an educational programme. The relative risk of concussion for participants enrolled in the interventional arms of trials was not significantly different from that in standard practice arms (RR=0.78, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.11, χ2=1.8, p=0.17; I2=85.3%, 95% CI 71.5% to 90.8%). The relative risk of concussion for participants wearing protective equipment (ie, headgear, full face shields) relative to their counterparts wearing standard or no equipment, calculated from seven available reports, showed no effect of intervention (RR=0.82, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.20, χ2=1.06, p=0.30; I2=86.7%, 95% CI 73.3% to 91.8%). The relative risk of superficial head injury for participants wearing protective equipment relative to their counterparts, calculated from three reports, showed a significant risk reduction (RR=0.41, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.56, χ2=34.13, p<0.0001; I2=53.1%, 95% CI 0% to 85.2%).

Conclusions Prospective controlled studies indicate that certain protective equipment may prevent superficial head injury, but these items are suboptimal for concussion prevention in sport.

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