Change in Size and Impact Performance of Football Helmets from the 1970s to 2010
- 1.4k Downloads
Linear impactor tests were conducted on football helmets from the 1970s–1980s to complement recently reported tests on 1990s and 2010s helmets. Helmets were placed on the Hybrid III head with an array of accelerometers to determine translational and rotational acceleration. Impacts were at four sites on the helmet shell at 3.6–11.2 m/s. The four generations of helmets show a continuous improvement in response from bare head impacts in terms of Head Injury Criterion (HIC), peak head acceleration and peak rotational acceleration. Helmets of 2010s weigh 1.95 ± 0.2 kg and are 2.7 times heavier than 1970s designs. They are also 4.3 cm longer, 7.6 cm higher, and 4.9 cm wider. The extra size and weight allow the use of energy absorbing padding that lowers forces in helmet impacts. For frontal impacts at 7.4 m/s, the four best performing 2010s helmets have HIC of 148 ± 23 compared to 179 ± 42 for the 1990s baseline, 231 ± 27 for the 1980s, 253 ± 22 for the 1970s helmets, and 354 ± 3 for the bare head. The additional size and padding of the best 2010s helmets provide superior attenuation of impact forces in normal play and in conditions associated with concussion than helmets of the 1970s–1990s.
KeywordsProtective headgear Recreation and sport Concussion Helmets Sport equipment
- 1.Backaitis, S. H., and H. J. Mertz (eds.). Hybrid III: The First Human-Like Crash Test Dummy. Warrendale: Society of Automotive Engineers, PT-44, 1994.Google Scholar
- 4.Casson, I. R., D. C. Viano, J. W. Powell, and E. J. Pellman. Twelve years of NFL concussion data. Sports Health 2(6):471–483, 2010.Google Scholar
- 7.Hodgson, V. R. Reducing serious injury in sports. Interschol. Athletic Assoc. 7(2):11–14, 1980.Google Scholar
- 8.Hodgson, V. R., M. W. Mason, and L. M. Thomas. Head model for impact. In: 16th Stapp Car Crash Conference: SAE 720969, Vol. 45. Warrendale: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1972, pp. 1–13.Google Scholar
- 9.Hodgson, V. R., and L. M. Thomas. Utility of head injury criterion in head injury prevention: past and present research. Detroit: Wayne State University, 1985.Google Scholar
- 10.Hodgson, V. R., L. M. Thomas, and P. Prasad. Testing the validity and limitations of the severity index. In: 14th Stapp Car Crash Conference: SAE 700901. Warrendale: Society of Automotive Engineers, 1970.Google Scholar
- 18.NOCSAE 001-04m05: Standard drop test method and equipment used in evaluating the performance characteristics of protective headgear. www.nocsae.org, 2004.
- 19.NOCSAE 002-98m03: Standard performance specification for newly manufactured football helmets. www.nocsae.org, 1998.
- 20.NOCSAE 021-98m05: Standard projectile impact testing method and equipment used in evaluating the performance characteristics of protective headgear, faceguards or projectiles. www.nocsae.org, 1998.
- 21.Pellman, E. J., J. W. Powell, D. C. Viano, I. R. Casson, A. M. Tucker, H. Feuer, M. Lovell, J. F. Waeckerle, and D. W. Robertson. Concussion in professional football: epidemiological features of game injuries and review of the literature—Part 3. Neurosurgery 54:81–97, 2004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 26.Torg, J. S., S. M. Harris, K. Rogers, and G. J. Stilwell. Retrospective report on the effectiveness of a polyurethane football helmet cover on the repeated occurrence of cerebral concussions. Am. J. Orthop. (Belle Mead NJ) 28(2):128–132, 1999.Google Scholar
- 28.Viano, D. C., C. Withnall, and D. Halstead. Impact performance of modern football helmets. Ann. Biomed. Eng., 2011. doi:10.1007/s10439-011-0384-4