Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers hit virtual heads to make safer games

Date:
September 12, 2013
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
Two nearly identical softballs, both approved for league play, can have dramatically different effects when smacked into a player's head.

Two nearly identical softballs, both approved for league play, can have dramatically different effects when smacked into a player's head.
Credit: Washington State University

Two nearly identical softballs, both approved for league play, can have dramatically different effects when smacked into a player's head.

Those are the findings from a study conducted by Professor Lloyd Smith in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and project engineer Derek Nevins that they will present at the Asia Pacific Congress on Sports Technology later this month in Hong Kong. Their work was published in the journal, Procedia Engineering.

Smith's group developed a unique model of a softball that they electronically throw at a virtual head to better understand and prevent injuries.

About a quarter of the injuries that happen on the softball field come from players getting hit with a ball, either thrown or batted at them. Most vulnerable are the pitcher, base runner, and third baseman. When they do occur, the injuries are almost always serious, oftentimes including a bone fracture, says Smith.

In many sports, balls are standardized for consistency and performance. But, researchers haven't understood specifically how the balls' different properties and materials affect player safety. They haven't been able to measure just how much or how it hurts when a ball hits a head.

While there have been human models for years, the ball is the hard part, says Smith. Models of softball collisions are especially challenging because of a low Coefficient of Restitution, or how the energy is transferred between the ball and what it hits, he says. Depending on its elasticity and its stiffness, the ball deforms and dissipates energy differently.

The researchers married the ball model they developed with Thums, or the Total Human Model for Safety. Thums sits on a computer screen -- a perfect, computerized skeletal model of a head developed by Toyota for crash testing. He has a rainbow of different colored eye sockets, teeth, and detailed skull features, including the temporal and parietal bone, facial muscles, and even his cerebrospinal fluid. He looks like he's smiling, although it's not clear he's still smiling when the ball comes at the front and side of his head at between 60 and 120 miles per hour. He is called a 50th percentile male -- or an average guy.

In their study with the softball model, the researchers determined that two softballs that are commonly used for the same level of amateur play have significantly different properties and result in big differences in potential injury. The two balls differed in stiffness by 30 percent. Testing against a virtual head resulted in as much as a 64 percent difference in bone stress, or how badly he was hurt.

"For most impact conditions, bone stress exceeded the assumed bone strength,'' write the researchers.

That means that their virtual head ended up with a serious fractured skull.

The researchers hope that their ball model work can be extended to better understand more subtle but serious collision injuries, such as concussions, as well as lead to improved protective equipment and injury prevention in a number of sports.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Derek Nevins, Lloyd Smith. Influence of Ball Properties on Simulated Ball-to-Head Impacts. Procedia Engineering, 2013; 60: 4 DOI: 10.1016/j.proeng.2013.07.002

Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "Researchers hit virtual heads to make safer games." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130912111815.htm>.
Washington State University. (2013, September 12). Researchers hit virtual heads to make safer games. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130912111815.htm
Washington State University. "Researchers hit virtual heads to make safer games." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130912111815.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
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