New high-tech helmets may protect American football players from debilitating concussions

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Hundreds of thousands of individuals within the US are concussed yearly enjoying sports activities. Gamers of video games like American soccer are at significantly excessive threat for accidents that may have devastating long-term penalties. Stanford College scientists working with the corporate Savior Mind have now designed one potential approach of defending gamers: a helmet containing liquid shock absorbers that would scale back the influence of blows to the top by a 3rd.

“Many of the members of our group have a private connection to traumatic mind damage and we care deeply about making certain long-term athlete mind well being,” mentioned Nicholas Cecchi, a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford College and lead writer of the research in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. “Concussion and repeated head impacts are nonetheless a significant downside in touch sports activities, and we imagine that improved helmet expertise can play an essential function in decreasing the danger of mind damage.”

HARM discount

Earlier analysis by the Camarillo Lab at Stanford College had prompt that liquid shock absorbers may present improved safety in sports activities helmets. To analyze this, the group constructed a finite aspect mannequin, utilized by engineers to simulate efficiency earlier than manufacturing, of an American soccer helmet incorporating 21 liquid shock absorbers. This helmet was examined towards simulations of the helmet efficiency analysis protocol utilized by the Nationwide Soccer League (NFL), its efficiency in comparison with that of 4 present helmets.

As a result of mounting proof that the cumulative impact of impacts which do not trigger recognized concussions also can have severe well being penalties, the group added decrease velocity impacts to the analysis protocol. They measured the top kinematics for every influence to provide a Head Speed up Response Metric (HARM) rating, which is used to judge helmet efficiency below influence. The kinematics had been additionally fed right into a mannequin of the top and mind to gauge the ensuing pressure on the mind.

Decreasing influence by 33%

The outcomes confirmed that the helmet with liquid shock absorbers may dramatically scale back influence severity and pressure on the mind attributable to head impacts, probably considerably slicing accidents. The helmet with liquid shock absorbers carried out higher than the present helmet fashions, producing the bottom HARM worth in 33 out of 36 totally different influence circumstances examined, with a median discount in rating of a 3rd.

The liquid helmet additionally had the perfect “Helmet Efficiency Rating,” a measure used within the NFL’s annual helmet security rankings, which features a weighting for a way nicely a helmet protects towards blows in numerous areas of the top. The best-weighted location is the ‘aspect higher’ portion of the helmet as a result of impacts listed here are more than likely to trigger concussions: the helmet with liquid shock absorbers diminished the HARM rating on this space by 39-50% throughout all influence velocities with out compromising safety in different areas of the helmet.

“The liquid expertise provided a median enchancment of over 30% for each high and low velocities,” mentioned Dr. Yuzhe Liu, corresponding writer, who accomplished the work as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford College. “It could actually dramatically scale back the loading on the mind that’s skilled throughout every kind of American soccer impacts.”

The group intends to develop the mannequin considerably to guard gamers higher—for example by incorporating enhancements to the facemask and chinstrap. In addition they plan to develop the mannequin right into a bodily helmet that may very well be examined in real-life circumstances, and sooner or later to provide related helmets for different sports activities. Nonetheless, totally different ranges of play or totally different sports activities might have evaluation by totally different metrics and design redevelopment.

“The subsequent step for our group is to translate the pc mannequin to a bodily prototype,” mentioned Cecchi. “After efficiently finishing that, we might even be fascinated with conducting human research that would exhibit both a discount in concussion incidence or an attenuation of influence severity for sub-concussive impacts. We now have plans to increase our implementation of liquid shock absorbers to extra areas of the helmet, and extra helmeted functions, to additional enhance mind security for all kinds of populations.”

Extra data:
Nicholas Cecchi et al, Finite aspect analysis of an American soccer helmet that includes liquid shock absorbers for safeguarding towards concussive and subconcussive head impacts, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology (2023). DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2023.1160387

New high-tech helmets might defend American soccer gamers from debilitating concussions (2023, June 9)
retrieved 9 June 2023

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