(Photo: AJ Guel)
It's basic science: magnets with similar poles repel each other. So to reduce concussion injuries in football, install magnets in football helmets. When 2 players collide, the magnetic push will help soften the impact between the helmets and the trauma to human brains inside.
That's the proposal put forward by Raymond Colello, a neuroscientist. Every year in the United States, 1.2 million people play football, resulting in about 100,000 concussions. Colello thinks that small but powerful magnets could significantly reduce the number of football concussions. Kate Baggaley writes for Science News:
Colello, of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, is testing magnets made in China from the rare-earth element neodymium. They are the most powerful commercially available magnets and weigh about one-third of a pound each (football helmets weigh from 3.5 to 5.5 pounds). When placed one-fourth of an inch away from each other, two magnets with their same poles face-to-face exert nearly 100 pounds of repulsive force.
Colello tested his magnets with the same procedure that the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment uses to evaluate football helmets. He placed magnets on the front of a weight and let it drop from various heights onto another magnet. The heights Colello tested (between 6 inches and 4 feet) represent the impact forces athletes normally experience on the playing field.
“At 48 inches, if you dropped a standard helmet and it hit a stationary object, it would create 120 g’s of force,” says Colello. “With the magnets we drop that below 100 g’s.”