Head Acceleration Experienced by Man: Exposure, Tolerance, and Applications

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Virginia Tech

Between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions are sustained by persons living in the United States annually. While sports-related concussion was once considered to only result in immediate neurocognitive impairment and symptoms that are transient in nature, recent research has correlated long-term neurodegenerative effects with a history of sports-related concussion. Increased awareness and current media attention have contributed to concussions becoming a primary health concern. Although much research has been performed investigating the biomechanics of concussion, little is understood about the biomechanics that cause concussion in humans. The research presented in this dissertation investigates human tolerance to head acceleration using methods that pair biomechanical data collected from human volunteers with clinical data. Head impact exposure and injury risk are quantified and presented.

In contrast to the publicly available data on the safety of automobiles, consumers have no analytical mechanism to evaluate the protective performance of football helmets. With this in mind, the Summation of Tests for the Analysis of Risk (STAR) evaluation system was developed to evaluate the impact performance of footballs helmets and provide consumers with information about helmet safety. The STAR evaluation system was designed using real world data that relate impact exposure to injury risk.

concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, biomechanics, football, sports, injury risk