Dr. Sandra Harrell Endorses Hammer Head Swim Caps

Dr. Sandra Harrell’s life changed in college after she suffered an extreme concussion. The lack of protective gear and knowledge of protocol eventually led her to research, study and educate others on the severity of concussions, and the importance of water safety in terms of head injuries. Recently Dr. Harrell became aware of Hammer Head swim caps and endorsed them because of its mission to protect those swimming underwater from a head injury.

Who is Dr. Sandra Harrell?

Dr. Sandra Harrell is a 5x NCAA All-American swimmer, a 2x UC San Diego Pool record holder and has 20+ years of swimming experience. Alongside this, she is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a licensed physical therapist with experience in neurological conditions such as spinal cord injuries and concussions. She has published her research in the Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal. Let's just say, she’s amazing. She has always had a passion for academia and research and loves being a part of the swimming community so she can teach topics without restrictions.

Why does Dr. Harrell like Hammer Head swim caps so much?

In her own words, "As a researcher and head safety advocate, protecting your head and optimizing head safety is critical to maintaining brain health throughout every stage of life, but particularly from youth to young adulthood when the brain is undergoing development. During these formative years of brain maturation, sustaining concussions can have a lasting impact on your overall health. Ensuring you are protecting your head while improving your fitness can only produce everlasting benefits that are beyond the arena of the pool. Hammer Head's innovative swim cap provides you with a honeycomb technology that absorbs and distributes the force of a head collision to reduce the impact that your brain could ultimately sustain. I highly recommend this product as this is the world's first protective swim cap and there are no other products like this."

What were Dr. Harrell’s findings in her research?

Though an estimated 1.6-3.8 million US athletes sustain concussions, the accurate number is higher, due to unreported incidents in non-contact sports such as most aquatic sports. Concussions don’t just affect the brain, they affect organs, the neck, blood flow, hormones and  metabolism  (which takes up to 30 days to recover from). One will go into a metabolic energy crisis by day 3 and will have an extremely low production of energy. By day 8, most are asymptomatic, but a second impact during this time will prolong symptoms and diminish the ability to recover.

How do Dr. Harrell’s findings relate to Hammer Head swim caps’ mission?

Hammer Head swimming caps are all about water safety and preventing head injuries in the swimming pool. This is what attracted Dr. Harrell to Hammer Head in the first place. Everyone is able to stay protected with Hammer Head swim caps. In terms of competitive swimmers, wearing a Hammer Head cap is a proven way to reduce the risks of concussions. The honeycomb technology and thickness of the material provided a significant layer of protection by allowing the force of impact to be dispersed and absorbed in the cap, prior to impact on the skull. As in football where players wear a soft helmet to reduce full-speed impact during practices and warm-up prior to a game, swimmers can train and warm up with HH caps, and can continue to wear HH caps during their race to also reduce the full-speed impact (since the majority of concussions occur during practice/warm-ups). Alternatively, swimmers can wear HH caps after sustaining a concussion to reduce the risks of a 2nd impact during the “vulnerability period” of post-concussion.

Do those with sensory sensitivities benefit from Hammer Head Swim Caps?

Those of any age who have sensory sensitivities such as cerebral palsy or autism may be over or under-responsive to the stimuli. Because of this, those with sensitivities can benefit from deep, prolonged compression to help soothe. Hammer Head Caps can provide this compression and can relax those who suffer from sensitivities. Furthermore,  Hammer Head swimming caps can dampen/ smooth out the transition of different mediums (air VS water) for these swimmers so it’s less frightening or uncomfortable for them. Hammer Head is for everyone to stay safe in the pool and continues to educate those on the importance of aquatic protective equipment. 

How can I learn more about Dr. Harrell?

To hear more from Dr. Harrell, you can go to her website or check out her Instagram: @theswimmersdoc or her TikTok: @theswimmersdoc.