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Virginia Tech biomedical engineers announce child football helmet study
Date:10/17/2011

Virginia Tech released today results from the first study ever to instrument child football helmets. Youth football helmets are currently designed to the same standards as adult helmets, even though little is known about how child football players impact their heads. This is the first study to investigate the head impact characteristics in youth football, and will greatly enhance the development of improved helmets specifically designed for children.

The Auburn Eagles, a local, Montgomery County, Va., youth team consisting of 6 to 8 year old boys, has participated in the study since August. The helmets of the child football players are instrumented with custom 12 accelerometer arrays that measure how a child's head responds to impact. Each time a player impacts his head, data are recorded and wirelessly downloaded to a computer on the sideline.

The technology is similar to what Virginia Tech has used since 2003 to instrument its collegiate football team. "The research conducted with the Virginia Tech football team has led to a better understanding of head impacts in football and how they relate to concussions," said Stefan Duma (http://www.sbes.vt.edu/duma.php), the Virginia Tech professor of biomedical engineering and department head of the Virginia Tech Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (SBES) that directs this project.

Furthermore, this research has led to the development of the National Impact Database (http://www.sbes.vt.edu/nid), which contains the first safety rating system ever available for adult football helmets (STAR Evaluation System). Similar developments for youth football are anticipated from the current study with the Auburn Eagles.

"Based on eight years of studying head impacts experienced by Virginia Tech football players, we were able to quantify exposure for adult football players
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Contact: Lynn Nystrom
tansy@vt.edu
540-231-4371
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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