Charlottesville, VA (May 7, 2013). Researchers at the Center for Injury Biomechanics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia compared the relative safety afforded by two 1930-vintage leather football helmets and 10 modern football helmets during impacts to players' heads. These researchers found that all 10 modern helmets provided significantly more protection than leather helmets used in the first half of the twentieth century, and demonstrated that differences also exist between modern helmets. Details on their methods and findings are found in "Biomechanical performance of leather and modern football helmets. Technical note," by Steven Rowson, Ph.D., Ray W. Daniel, M.S., and Stefan M. Duma, Ph.D., published today online, ahead of print, in the Journal of Neurosurgery.
The authors evaluated leather and modern football helmets by performing a series of 20 drop tests that represent a variety of impacts that could occur during a football game. An anthropometric head form was placed on an adjustable mount suspended from an overhead carriage. Each helmet in turn was placed on the head form, which was dropped in a controlled fashion from heights of 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 inches onto a standardized anvil to simulate impacts delivered from blows to the head during play. The head form was placed in four different positions before impact simulationfront, side, rear, and top according to which surface of the head form faced downwardso that linear acceleration of the helmeted head form in each position could be measured.
Drop tests were used to measure the performance of two Hutch H-18 leather football helmets and 10 modern football helmets that differed in model, manufacturer, and 2011 Virginia Tech Helmet Rating (measured as 5 stars, best available; 4 stars, very good; 3 stars, good, 2 stars, adequate
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