Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Virginia Tech announces football helmet ratings for reducing concussion risk

10.05.2011
Virginia Tech released today the results of a new rating system of adult football helmets that is designed to reduce the risk of concussions. One currently manufactured helmet received the top "5 star" rating, and a total of five helmets received the very good "4-star" rating.

This biomechanical impact data study on football helmets represents the first time researchers have provided the public with comparative test results.

The information is based on a new evaluation methodology that incorporated eight years of data and analysis, quantifying head impact exposure and risk of concussion. The testing data showed that the overall best helmet currently available to the public is the Riddell Revolution Speed, which earned the only "5-star" rating. The next category includes five very good performing helmets that were all given a "4-star" rating: Schutt ION 4D, Schutt DNA Pro+, Xenith X1, Riddell Revolution, and Riddell Revolution IQ, according to Stefan Duma who directed the project.

http://www.sbes.vt.edu/people/faculty/primary/duma.html

"Our goal was to develop a thorough test matrix that would provide consumers with valuable biomechanical data in order to make educated decisions about which helmet to purchase," said Duma, a Virginia Tech professor of biomedical engineering and head of the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (SBES).

"The results clearly show that the newer technologies across all manufacturers are significantly better at reducing the risk of concussions compared to the older models," Duma added. The dataset for football helmets is the first installation in the National Impact Database that will cover many sports when fully implemented.

The evaluation involved performing 120 impacts on each helmet model at multiple locations and impact energies. A total of three new helmets were purchased for each model and tested to determine the STAR, an acronym for the Summation of Tests for the Analysis of Risk value. The STAR value is the calculated incidence of concussion for one season of full participation at a collegiate level.

"We utilized over one million measured head impacts to quantify the impact exposure and concussion risk for the development of the STAR equation," said Steve Rowson, assistant professor at Virginia Tech in SBES. Rowson is responsible for the helmet testing and developed the methodology as part of his Ph.D. dissertation. "We perform the impacts using the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment drop test configuration because our data shows that it closely replicates on-field football head impacts."

The STAR value combines exposure with concussion risk as measured from the head acceleration results from this standards committee's style impact tests. Each helmet is tested at four impact locations (front, back, side, and top) at five different impact drop heights ranging from 12 inches to 60 inches.

"A unique aspect of the STAR system is that it weights each impact height to a corresponding number of impacts a player would see through the course of one season at that severity level. Depending on how the helmet performs, a risk is associated with each impact height," Duma said.

A manuscript detailing the methodology has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. http://www.springer.com/biomed/journal/10439

At the lower end of the ratings are several helmets that are currently in use. With a marginal rating of '1-star' the Riddell VSR4 is the second lowest rated helmet. Although it is currently being used by collegiate and NFL players, it is not currently sold to the public. The VSR4 helmets tested were in good condition but used.

"The VSR4 was included to illustrate the benefits of the new technologies from many manufacturers. For example, the Xenith X1 is a very good helmet and provides 55 percent reduction in risk of concussion compared to the VSR4, and that is statistically significant," noted Duma. "In other words, you can cut your risk of concussion in half by switching from the VSR4 to the Xenith X1." The reduction or increase in concussion risk between helmets can be determined by comparing the specific STAR value associated with each helmet.

Many of the 2010 Virginia Tech football team players used VSR4 helmets and had them through spring ball in April 2011. "Once we finalized the numbers, my first call was to our head team physician Gunnar Brolinson and our head team trainer Mike Goforth. We all agreed that we had to change out the helmets immediately," Duma said. "For the fall 2011 season, our players that had VSR4s will be in the Revolution Speed helmets."

To cover the cost of the new helmets, the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences agreed to pay for the newer and better performing helmets. "There is an appreciable cost associated with changing out approximately 40 helmets, but there is no question that we are going to do it," Duma said.

The lowest rating assigned was "NR" meaning not recommended, and that label was given to the Adams A2000 Pro Elite helmet. "The resulting STAR value of 1.7 was significantly higher than all other helmets and several of the impacts resulted in values that are close to the threshold for skull fractures," said Rowson. "For the same price that we paid, there are many other helmets that are much better," he added.

While there are large differences between the top performing helmets and the least performing helmets, the difference between 5-star and 4-star helmets is much less. "Following the earlier example, the Xenith X1 dramatically reduces concussion risk compared to the VSR4, but the improvement is much smaller going from the Xenith X1 to the Riddell Revolution Speed" said Duma. "I strongly recommend players purchase one of the 5-star or 4-star helmets as their performance is significantly better than the others."

Overall, the cost of the helmet showed little correlation to the relative protection offered by it, Duma explained. All helmets ranged from $159 to $299. Interestingly, the Schutt DNA Pro + was one of the cheapest helmets at 169.95, but was one of the very good helmets given a 4-star rating. In contrast, the Adams helmet that is not recommended cost much more at $199.

"This highlights the problems for consumers and was a key motivator for us to release the data. Performance is not directly related to cost and now consumers can make decisions based on independent data characterizing the biomechanical performance of these helmets," said Duma.

The Virginia Tech STAR rating system is independent of any helmet manufacturer and utilizes funding from private donations, the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, and the Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. The helmet ranking results are available from the SBES web page at www.SBES.VT.edu by following the link for the National Impact Database at the top right of the page. Also, there are detailed downloadable reports that outline methodology and resulting data.

Lynn Nystrom | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

Further reports about: Biomedical DNA Database Ferchau Engineering SBES Science TV Speed VSR4

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells
22.11.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Fine felted nanotubes: CAU research team develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes
22.11.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>