November 25, 2008

Football helmet face shields protect eyes

Researchers say the two most popular brands of football helmet face shields can withstand a hit equivalent to a kick in the face, U.S. researchers said.

Eye specialists at Ohio State University in Columbus used an air cannon to hurl baseballs at the plastic face shields to mimic the force of a kick to the face -- considered the riskiest way to sustain an eye injury in football.

Study co-author Dr. Gregory Good said the face shields, which cost about $50, maintained their structural integrity after baseballs were propelled at the shields at velocities of nearly 150 miles per hour.

The study, published in the journal Optometry Measures, found that measures of optical quality also showed that the curved, plastic shields don't add any distortions to players' vision.

I think this would be a good idea not only from a collegiate standpoint but all the way down to peewee football, especially for players with good vision in only one eye, Good said in a statement. Players in the pros can make their own decisions but it would be helpful to have coaches and managers on board to convince kids in high school and younger kids especially to wear face shields. At that age, kids typically don't have enough experience to make a decision about safety on their own.