Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Child football helmet study underway

Date:
October 18, 2011
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Youth football helmets are currently designed to the same standards as adult helmets, even though little is known about how child football players impact their heads. This is the first study to investigate the head impact characteristics in youth football.

These are members of the Auburn Eagles, a Montgomery County, Va., youth team consisting of 6 to 8 year old boys, participated in the first helmet study of child football players. Under the supervision of Virginia Tech’s biomedical engineering faculty, the helmets of the child football players were instrumented with custom 12 accelerometer arrays that measured how a child’s head responds to impact.
Credit: Image courtesy of Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech released October 18 results from the first study ever to instrument child football helmets. Youth football helmets are currently designed to the same standards as adult helmets, even though little is known about how child football players impact their heads. This is the first study to investigate the head impact characteristics in youth football, and will greatly enhance the development of improved helmets specifically designed for children.

The Auburn Eagles, a local, Montgomery County, Va., youth team consisting of 6 to 8 year old boys, has participated in the study since August. The helmets of the child football players are instrumented with custom 12 accelerometer arrays that measure how a child's head responds to impact. Each time a player impacts his head, data are recorded and wirelessly downloaded to a computer on the sideline.

The technology is similar to what Virginia Tech has used since 2003 to instrument its collegiate football team. "The research conducted with the Virginia Tech football team has led to a better understanding of head impacts in football and how they relate to concussions," said Stefan Duma, the Virginia Tech professor of biomedical engineering and department head of the Virginia Tech -- Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (SBES) that directs this project.

Furthermore, this research has led to the development of the National Impact Database (http://www.sbes.vt.edu/nid), which contains the first safety rating system ever available for adult football helmets (STAR Evaluation System). Similar developments for youth football are anticipated from the current study with the Auburn Eagles.

"Based on eight years of studying head impacts experienced by Virginia Tech football players, we were able to quantify exposure for adult football players relative to impact location, severity, and frequency," Duma said. "Unfortunately, we cannot translate the adult exposure to the youth helmets because the impact conditions of youth football are completely unknown. To solve this problem, we are applying the same approach that we have used with the Virginia Tech football team to a youth football team," Duma added.

The instrumentation wasn't compatible with the older helmets that were initially provided for the youth team, so Virginia Tech purchased new helmets for the entire team. "The kids are very excited about wearing the same technology in their helmets that the Virginia Tech football team has worn over the last eight years," said Ray Daniel, the graduate student whose master's thesis will be focused on the study.

To date, over 400 head impacts experienced by the youth football team have been collected and analyzed. "Not only are the impacts generally less severe in youth football when compared to adults, but the frequency of the most severe impacts is substantially lower," Duma said. While most of the impacts collected have been of very low severity; surprisingly, a few impacts are approaching impact levels associated with concussion in adult football players. The goal of this study is to completely quantify and characterize the head impact conditions of youth football, which will provide guidelines to aide manufacturers in designing better helmets for children.

"We have a unique opportunity to quantify the distribution of head impacts experienced by youth players, which no one has ever looked at before," said Steven Rowson, research assistant professor of biomedical engineering and creator of the STAR Evaluation System for football helmets. Rowson, who also helped design the sensors that are currently in the youth helmets, added, "By knowing these impact distributions, we can develop a safety rating system for youth football helmets that will supplement the National Impact Database. This not only educates consumers on relative helmet safety, but also provides improved design criteria for helmet manufacturers."

This work has implications that are not limited to improved helmets in football, but also has applications towards improved head protection in other sports, as well as advancements in automobile safety designs. Funding for this project is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) at Virginia Tech.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Child football helmet study underway." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018084636.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2011, October 18). Child football helmet study underway. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018084636.htm
Virginia Tech. "Child football helmet study underway." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018084636.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins