Millions of young athletes participating in organized sports programs suffer serious concussions, many of which go unidentified by volunteer coaches and parents…The CDC estimates that approximately 135,000 youngsters between the ages of 5-18 visit hospital emergency rooms for brain injuries every year. Accident reconstruction expert witness C. J. Abraham interviewed former middle school and high school football players who were paraplegics and quadriplegics to determine the causes of their horrific injuries. He became emotionally invested in their heart-breaking stories, which led to him patenting the flexible face-mask that was licensed and manufactured by Riddell in the early ’80s.
“The face-mask I invented for use with the football helmet was related to a need to reduce the risk of paralyzing injuries to young children,” Abraham says. “The steel face-mask the children were using weighed over a pound, did not absorb and dissipate forces and was much too heavy for young children. As a result, their heads and necks sagged and were prone to flexing extensively during a tackle, resulting in fractures of their spines. By cutting the weight in half and allowing the facemask to absorb and dissipate some of the impact forces, we were able to eliminate the paralyzing injuries that were caused by impact to the facemask during a tackle. Since the players started to use the facemask there have been no reported spinal injuries.”