Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 160–174 | Cite as

Impact Performance of Modern Football Helmets



Linear impact tests were conducted on 17 modern football helmets. The helmets were placed on the Hybrid III head with the neck attached to a sliding table. The head was instrumented with an array of 3-2-2-2 accelerometers to determine translational acceleration, rotational acceleration, and HIC. Twenty-three (23) different impacts were conducted on four identical helmets of each model at eight sites on the shell and facemask, four speeds (5.5, 7.4, 9.3, and 11.2 m/s) and two temperatures (22.2 and 37.8 °C). There were 1,850 tests in total; 276 established the 1990s helmet performance (baseline) and 1,564 were on the 17 different helmet models. Differences from the 1990s baseline were evaluated using the Student t test (p < 0.05 as significant). Four of the helmets had significantly lower HICs and head accelerations than the 1990s baseline with average reductions of 14.6–21.9% in HIC, 7.3–14.0% in translational acceleration, and 8.4–15.9% in rotational acceleration. Four other helmets showed some improvements. Eight were not statistically different from the 1990s baseline and one had significantly poorer performance. Of the 17 helmet models, four provided a significant reduction in head responses compared to 1990s helmets.


Protective headgear Recreation and sport Concussion Helmets Sport equipment 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. Viano
    • 1
  • Chris Withnall
    • 2
  • David Halstead
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.ProBiomechanics LLCBloomfield HillsUSA
  2. 2.Biokinetics and Associates Ltd.OttawaCanada
  3. 3.University of Tennessee, College of Engineering, Sports Biomechanics Impact Research LabKnoxvilleUSA
  4. 4.Southern Impact Research Center, LLCRockfordUSA

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