Evaluation and Application of Brain Injury Criteria to Improve Protective Headgear Design
Rowson, Bethany Marie
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As many as 3.8 million sports-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur each year, nearly all of which are mild or concussive. These injuries are especially concerning given recent evidence that repeated concussions can lead to long-term neurodegenerative processes. One way of reducing the number of injuries is through improvements in protective equipment design. Safety standards and relative performance ratings have led to advancements in helmet design that have reduced severe injuries and fatalities in sports as well as concussive injuries. These standards and evaluation methods frequently use laboratory methods and brain injury criteria that have been developed through decades of research dedicated to determining the human tolerance to brain injury. It is necessary to determine which methods are the most appropriate for evaluating the performance of helmets and other protective equipment. Therefore, the aims of this research were to evaluate the use of different brain injury criteria and apply them to laboratory evaluation of helmets. These aims were achieved through evaluating the predictive capability of different brain injury criteria and comparing laboratory impact systems commonly used to evaluate helmet performance. Laboratory methods were developed to evaluate the relative performance of hockey helmets given the high rate of concussions associated with the sport. The implementation of these methods provided previously unavailable data on the relative risk of concussion associated with different hockey helmet models.
- Doctoral Dissertations