A SOUTH Fremantle inventor who patented a helmet shown to reduce concussion rates in footballers by up to 75 per cent has been left scratching his head at the seeming lack of interest shown by the AFL.
Graeme Attey says the AFL’s reluctance is hard to understand given recent publicity about the long-term effects of concussion following Dockers captain Nat Fyfe’s heavy hit late in April and current concerns about the future of Collingwood veteran Levi Greenwood, who’s still on the sidelines five weeks after his latest headcrunch.
The AFL introduced new rules in January doubling the time concussed players must sit out from 6 to 12 days, but already Monash University researchers have called for it to be extended to a month because they were still detecting signs of brain damage after a fortnight.
Mr Attey says his Hexlid helmets have been scientifically tested to show they can actually prevent concussions, but the governing body seems to have a blind spot and maintains there is no evidence.
“Although the AFL have approved the Hexlid for use in AFL, I think the key personnel are either just ignoring our test data or don’t believe it, perhaps,” Mr Attey told the Herald.
He said the Hexlid reduced the g-force generated in a collision between players and the hexagonal pattern reduced rotational acceleration – a key factor in concussions.
“The frustrating thing is that we can’t get any better data; I deliberately went to the best test facility there is, so I can’t get more accurate testing done because there is nothing better. i.e. the data is correct.”
Mr Attey said his company Fuselage Design’s patented helmet also addressed other problems raised about other helmet designs such as weight, appearance, ability to breathe and comfort.
The ALF has also defended its position on helmets by arguing experts have suggested they may alter playing styles, with helmeted players tempted to take more risks, but Mr Attey believes that’s bunkum.
“The Hexlid will not change the playing style of players. It is a ridiculous statement because players don’t even notice they are wearing them.
“I surf in mine and I certainly don’t change my surfing style because I forget I’m wearing it,” Mr Attey said.
The Herald contacted the AFL for comment, but never heard back.
by ELIJAH PETERSEN