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Head trauma expert explains why helmets often make ‘concussion and brain trauma worse’

Article image for Head trauma expert explains why helmets often make ‘concussion and brain trauma worse’

An American head trauma expert says helmets won’t solve AFL’s chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) problem.

Last week, a post-mortem revealed Richmond midfielder Shane Tuck suffered from the crippling neurological disorder, which is linked to repeated knocks to the head.

He became the third AFL footballer to be diagnosed with the condition, which can only be diagnosed after death.

Chief executive of Concussion Legacy Foundation, Dr Chris Nowinski, who helped establish the Australian sports brain bank, says helmets won’t stop CTE.

“Once you put on a helmet and you stop feeling pain when you hit people with your head, it often makes the concussion and brain trauma issue worse,” he told Ross and Russel.

“Putting a helmet on will just make people more reckless, but you can’t really diminish energy with an inch of padding.

“We need to think about every hit to the head as an exposure to a very dangerous thing.

“Two concussions in a week can change the trajectory of your life.”

Dr Nowinski is calling for kids to start contact sports later in life to reduce their risk.

“The more years you play is probably the biggest driver of developing CTE,” he said.

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