How Safe are Football Helmets?

From this video you can clearly see the intrinsic danger of being a football player. With the amount of contact that is built into the game, it is important to have enough padding to keep the players safe. What has become a better known concern in recent years is the helmet of the football player. After all, the brain is the command center for the body, and the helmet is the hardest piece of equipment on the body. However, the helmet cannot be all hard, because then it would be uncomfortable on the head and it could possibly hurt the player. Thus, different materials compose different parts of the helmet. The outside is made up of polycarbonate plastic (or ABS for younger players that need lighter helmets) and what this does is allows for repeated blows to the helmet without any damage, but just the polycarbonate does not really keep the head safe. It seems like it is more for keeping the helmet from falling apart and from being destroyed. On a molecular level, the amount of force this compound can absorb comes from cyclohexylene rings that basically spread out the force better. What keeps the player safe instead his helmet is the foam. This is what lines the helmet and its function is to spread out the force on a macroscopic level and it is also more of a cushion than the polycarbonate. The best material for this foam is thermoplastic urethane which is basically just the kind of foam that lasts the longest. It is similar to the polycarbonate in that it has very good impact resistance, but again this is a foam so it is designed with the comfort of the wearer in mind instead of just the product not breaking.

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The TRUE Power of Creatine

Creatine is a popular performance-enhancing substance. According to popular belief, it is believed to enhance muscle mass and provide athletes with surges of energy. Supplements of this substance can be found at any drug store or supermarket and are generally over-the-counter. Many young athletes these days use creatine supplements, but their effects are not really understood by them.

Creatine itself is a chemical that occurs naturally. As humans, we already have some creatine in our body. Our bodies turn it into creatine phosphate. Creatine phosphate helps us make adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. ATP is what the body uses for energy for all cell processes.

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As previously stated creatine is believed to increase strength and muscle mass and provide energy for athletes during exercises. One sport where the use of this is popular is soccer. Many studies have been done to look at the effects of creatine in sports such as field hockey and soccer. Although no scientist has done a study looking at the effects of creatine during an actual game, they have looked at its effects on performance tests related to sports where creatine is used commonly. Unfortunately, the studies have provided mixed results. The studies that show creatine having a genuine effect are usually shown with sprinting tests. The problem with this is that in most sports where creatine is used, the athletes do not sprint very much to the extent of short distance track and field athletes. For example, in soccer, very rarely do the players actually sprint at full speed, as they have to be playing for 90 minutes and they need to be able to control the ball.

As a result, the true effects of creatine supplements are unknown. Until the full effects of these supplements in sports are known, we highly suggest the use of food and water for energy!

Energy Drinks: Are They Really Worth It?

In today’s world, we see many athletes using energy drinks instead of water for rehydration. Because of their good taste and sponsorship by professional athletes, these drinks have become immensely popular. Sports drinks have become a very large industry spawning a multitude of companies that ensure that their drink is the best. But the question is, how useful actually are these energy drinks?

In our research, we looked at one of the most popular brands of sports drinks: Gatorade. Every year, consumers buy an estimated 2 billion dollars’ worth of Gatorade. When we get to the nitty gritty, all we care about is whether or not the drink will keep us hydrated.

As we exercise, we begin to lose water. The rate at which this happens usually depends on the intensity of our exercise, the temperature outside, and other minor factors. This loss of water usually occurs because of sweat and breathing (we exhale water vapor due to cell respiration). Because of this, we become dehydrated. Some of the symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, headaches, and dizziness among other things. On the cellular level, dehydration causes a loss of water between cells and therefore an increase in the concentration of other substances like salts and sugars. When this happens, a process called osmosis occurs where water from surrounding areas is drawn out in order to make the concentrations even. This throws off the balance of water in the cells and interferes with respiration.

To fix this, one would first think to drink some water, but this could be a problem too. If someone drinks too much water, they can offset the concentration of salts, this time causing a condition call water intoxication. This also messes up the cell’s function and, in some cases, can be fatal.

Sports drinks, like Gatorade, provide a balance between the two. They contain both electrolytes (salts) and sugars in specific concentrations in order to maintain safe levels of both in the body while performing vigorous exercises. This allows the cells to perform osmosis safely. The sugar also provides the athletes with much needed energy.

So all in all, sports drinks are the superior choice for hydration when working up a sweat. They can do more than water and help you out in that time of need when you require that extra boost. But because it is meant for when you are working out, it is not recommended for use when you are not. The high sugar and salt levels are not the healthiest when you are not losing any bodily fluids, but other than that it is a good choice.

http://www.chemcases.com/gatorade/gatorade02.htm

http://www.chemcases.com/gatorade/gatorade02.htm

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/tc/dehydration-topic-overview

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090415075142.htm