Monday, November 29, 2010
One of Toyota’s campaign directions is Ideas for Good, which shows how their technology can be applied to other things in life. Even though the actors’ performances feel stiff, I still like the concept. This spot comes off as a little disingenuous regarding the issue of concussions in football though. I hope their THUMS accident software that was good enough for Wake Forrest was also shared with the rest of the NCAA’s teams, not to mention the official NFL helmet provider Riddell (which came out with its own improved helmet technology last year).
Aside from the subtext that you need to wear a helmet when driving a Toyota, the idea that it’s now okay to encourage a helmet to helmet collision? Hmm. If there’s one thing more prominent in the news lately than Sarah Palin, it’s the issue of concussions in football. I’m no M.I.T. grad, and I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn last night, but from the research I’ve looked at, there’s still no amount of collisions that can be deemed safe for players.
As I understand it during a hit, the brain keeps moving and sloshes around inside the skull when the head’s forward momentum suddenly stops – usually after colliding with another player’s body or helmet. This is what causes a concussion. So the player who lays there motionless after a Jacked-Up style hit likely experienced the brain short-circuiting itself.
It’s the same principle they show in the spot and the reason seatbelts save so many lives now. Before seat belt use was mandated by law, it was the accident *after* the accident that seriously injured or killed so many people. (Car hits something, and without anything to restrain your body, it keeps moving forward and hits something like a steering wheel, causing in effect a second accident. Sexy, huh.)
Unless they found a way to inject instant airbags inside your skull however, the brain still moves around during a hit. These are college players shown, yet pro athletes colliding at full speed will result in stronger collisions. You can’t change the laws of physics, no matter what kind of padding they use, and if younger players think it’s safer now to lead with their helmets, they’ll carry those bad habits with them to the next level.
Concussions are also a cumulative injury where the effects get worse with each subsequent hit, but where you also may not know the full extent of their damage until years later. (How many players left the field groggy after games this weekend alone?) I’m all for safety, but this spot sends the wrong message.