Navigation Links
Virginia Tech expands sports concussion-risk studies to include hockey and baseball

The Virginia Tech Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences ( is expanding its ground-breaking research of testing football helmets to reduce the number of concussions to now include hockey, baseball, softball, and lacrosse.

The five-year plan will see the Virginia Tech research center, headed by Stefan Duma (, rate helmets worn by hockey, baseball, softball, and lacrosse athletes in their ability to lessen the likelihood of a concussion resulting from a violent head impact.

Ratings on hockey helmets are expected in fall 2013, followed by youth football in 2015, and then baseball, softball, and lacrosse in 2016. During that time, all ratings for adult and youth football helmets will continually be updated and released to the public.

The expansion into helmeted sports other than football comes on the heels of new research that allows for better prediction of sports-related concussions resulting from linear and rotational head accelerations. These accelerations result from head impacts that cause the head to translate and twist about the neck. The new research is published this month in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering (

The new research is being funded by Virginia Tech, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science ( at Virginia Tech.

New ratings for football helmets will include data for linear and rotational accelerations starting in 2015, said Duma, professor of biomedical engineering and department head of the Virginia Tech Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. Serving as lead author on the research paper is Steven Rowson (, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech.

All head impacts result in both linear and rotational accelerations, and this publication provides the foundation for our research to address both accelerations relative to reducing the risk of concussion, said Duma. Our goal with the five-year plan is to provide manufacturers with a schedule detailing when we will release helmet ratings for each sport.

The helmet rating system is based on more than a decade of data collection by Duma and his research staff, and utilizes the STAR, or Summation of Tests for the Analysis of Risk, formula that assesses the ability of football helmets to reduce concussion risk. Sport-specific testing methodologies will be added to the website that lists the rated helmets prior to the initial release of each sports helmets ratings.

Using data collected from more than 63,000 head impacts during a period of 10 years, Duma and Rowson related linear and rotational head acceleration to the probability of sustaining a concussion in the form of an injury risk function.

This new analysis utilizes data measured from 62 concussions sustained by high school, college, and professional football players, said Rowson. We use these data to determine the best method to predict concussions when we test helmets in our laboratory. In their research paper, the researchers write, With as many as 3.8 million sports-related concussions occurring annually in the United States and research suggesting possible long term neurodegenerative processes resulting from repetitive concussions, reducing the incidence of concussion in sports has become a public health priority.

Indeed, long-term, repetitive injuries that can cripple or eventually kill years after play have prompted dozens of headlines in major media outlets and several national studies, and even President Obama to recently weigh in on the subject. Dozens of former NFL players are suing the league over injuries sustained during years of play, and headlines were made this summer when former football great Alex Karras died at age 77 from various ailments, several allegedly said to be caused by years of hard hits.

In studying football-related injuries during the past decade, Duma and his research team have used on-field real-time sensors installed in the helmets of hundreds of adult and youth football players to study injuries, as well as a mechanical lab-tested 5-star rating system to track and grade commercially sold helmets.

The former can help indicate head injuries that require immediate attention while on the field of play. The latter has provided the only independent biomechanical data for consumers to make helmet purchasing decisions, Duma said.

Dumas goal is not to end the sport of football, but make it safer while still keep the same expected adrenaline rush and action for players, and viewers.

It is important to note that no helmet can prevent all concussions. The most effective strategies to reduce concussions in sports involve modifying league rules and player technique to limit exposure to head impacts, Duma said.

Beyond this, head impacts are a given in sport. Our research focuses on identifying helmets that reduce concussion risk so that athletes can make informed decisions based on independent data when purchasing equipment, which in turn, incentivizes helmet manufacturers to design helmets that better reduce head acceleration.

Contact: Steven Mackay
Virginia Tech

Related biology news :

1. Virginia Tech announces 2012 football helmet ratings; 2 more added to the 5-star mark
2. Biology professor secures grant to save West Virginias primary natural history collection
3. Virginia Tech and University of Tuscia lead team to unravel origin of devastating kiwifruit bacterium
4. Scientific meeting at Virginia Tech will make more than $2 million economic impact
5. Old deeds, witness trees offer glimpse of pre-settlement forest in West Virginia
6. TESARO and Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center announce first patient in clinical trial of TSR-011
7. Virginia Tech computer scientists develop new way to study molecular networks
8. Virginia Woolf and Neuropsychiatry
9. Research4Life greatly expands peer-reviewed research available to developing world
10. Intersil Expands Precision Analog IC Offerings with Micross Components
11. Preventice Expands Options for Wireless Patient Monitoring with Qualcomm Life
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... -- Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. Dick W. ... --> --> Mr. Boyce ... at TPG Capital, one of the largest global investment ... revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating Group, which ... 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, he served ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... Calif. , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics ... of human interface solutions, today announced expansion of ... TouchView ™ touch controller and display driver ... revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI products add ... TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered into an ... Harvard for use of its ArxLab cloud-based suite ... The partnership will support the institute,s efforts to ... research information internally and with external collaborators. The ... managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... PHILADELPIA, PA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... young entrepreneurs at competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ... student projects from each state are competing for votes to win the title of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 SHPG ) ... participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference ... December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ... Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th ... , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced ... 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel time, at ... 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, Tel Aviv, ... Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the Board of ... as external directors; , approval of an amendment to certain terms ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... today announced that Emily Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience ... Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 ... Palace Hotel in New York City. ... . Twist Bioscience is on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: