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An Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Head Dynamics Due to Stick Impacts in Girls’ Lacrosse

Abstract

A method of investigating head acceleration and intracranial dynamics from stick impacts in girls’ and women’s lacrosse was developed using headform impact experiments and a finite element head model. Assessing the likelihood of head injury due to stick-head impacts is of interest in girls’ and women’s lacrosse due to the current lack of head protection during play. Experimental and simulation data were compared to characterize the head acceleration caused by stick-head impacts. Validation against cadaver head impact experiments ensures that the finite element model, with its relatively simple material properties, can provide means to develop a better understanding of the intracranial dynamics during lacrosse stick impacts. Our numerical results showed the peak acceleration at the center of gravity increased linearly with impact force, and was generally in agreement with the experimental data. von Mises stresses and peak principal strains, two common literature injury indicators, were examined within the finite element model, and peak values were below the previously reported thresholds for mild traumatic brain injury. By reconstructing typical in-game, unprotected stick-head impacts, this investigation lays the foundation for a quantitative methodology of injury prediction in girls’ and womens’ lacrosse.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded in part by US Lacrosse, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), and the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council. We would also like to thank Laura Costa for her efforts in performing the impact experiments.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial interests associated with this study.

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Correspondence to Christian Franck.

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Associate Editor Stefan M Duma oversaw the review of this article.

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Morse, J.D., Franck, J.A., Wilcox, B.J. et al. An Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Head Dynamics Due to Stick Impacts in Girls’ Lacrosse. Ann Biomed Eng 42, 2501–2511 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10439-014-1091-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10439-014-1091-8

Keywords

  • Finite element model
  • Sports-related concussion
  • Intracranial dynamics
  • Head acceleration
  • Maximum principal strain
  • von Mises stress