The Etiology of Impact Related Concussion for Catchers and Umpires in Baseball
Beyer, Jeffrey Andrew
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The information presented herein attempts to quantify the conditions surrounding concussive impacts from foul tips to the masks of catchers and umpires in baseball. Media reports of such occasions were researched on video and pitch speed data from the Pitch F/X system recorded to suggest speeds and locations at which impacts occur. To evaluate mask performance, a pneumatic-wheel, electric-motor driven pitching machine was utilized to shoot baseballs at the instrumented head of a Hybrid III dummy. Head accelerations were calculated from a 3-2-2-2 accelerometer array to allow for comparisons of linear and angular kinematics. 6 common masks (2-piece traditional-style and 1-piece hockey-style) were tested at 7 locations at 60 mph to determine the severity of each location. The center-eyebrow and chin locations were further tested at 84 mph. Speed and location data were used to evaluate a large sample of 25 masks to explore possible performance differences between manufacturer models, mask types and cage styles. The results of this study showed no significant difference between hockey-style and traditional-style mask performance. Titanium caged masks, although lighter than their steel counterparts, experienced higher linear accelerations. However, all masks experienced linear and angular accelerations well below commonly accepted injury thresholds. Yet, concussive injury has still occurred in the players and umpires that wear these masks. The work presented here can be used to help better understand these thresholds and influence the design, construction and evaluation of a new generation of masks that decrease the risk of concussions to the wearer.
- Masters Theses