Food For Thought: Helmetless Training

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Dr. Grace Walker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and certified ImPACT concussion therapist has reviewed an article you may find interesting. If you have had a chance to review our most recent article on concussions, you are aware of their prevalence and seriousness. It wasn’t until professional athletes in the limelight began suffering from the effects of years of concussive damage, that society realized how dangerous concussions can be.

A football helmet and doctors hand holding a stethoscope on the crown of the helmet. Sports Concussion Concept, and related conditions, CTE, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's.

What is a Concussion?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies a concussion as “a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”


The Study

The recent article published by Advance Healthcare Network for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine makes an interesting, debatable discovery. The article states that, “helmetless training, often referred to as HuTT (helmetless tackling training), is a training method emphasizing proper tackling technique”  and “HuTT reduced head impacts by 30% in one season.”

“Helmetless training is based on a theory termed risk compensation, in which individuals modify their behavior based on perceived level of risk. In competitive sports, athletes become more careful when they sense greater risk and are less careful if they feel more protected.”


The Debate

While the study is certainly interesting, it does seem to be comparable to the idea that driving without a seat belt will make you a more cautious and aware driver (please don’t). Can an athlete truly rely on other players in the game to practice “proper tackling technique”? If you did get a chance to read our most recent article, we explained that concussions do not always stem from an impact of the actual skull. They can be the result of any acceleration on the body that causes the brain to impact with the inside of the skull.

Ultimately, the choice is up to a team and coaches to consider pro’s and con’s whether they choose to wear helmets and practice proper tackling technique.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we have trained therapists to help design physical therapy programs to increase neck strength, which is a factor in reducing concussions. We come up with personalized programs for each patient to provide results in a fun and healing environment.


Call Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment with an expert and caring physical therapist!


1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (714) 997-5518

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