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Football helmet shields can protect against a kick in the face
Date:11/17/2008

ers conducted the air cannon work at ICS Laboratories in Brunswick, Ohio. Good completed the study with Kathryn Baker, Deborah Grzybowski, William McLaughlin and Steven Katz of Ohio State's Department of Ophthalmology; Aaron Zimmerman of Ohio State's College of Optometry; and Dale Pfriem of ICS Laboratories.

Because no current performance standard exists for football helmet faceshields, the researchers used the air cannon testing method that is already approved to assess face protectors for baseball and lacrosse. The American Society for Testing and Materials sets the requirements for face and eye protection used in numerous sports.

In the study, 10 football visors from each company were struck once at numerous velocities. Two visors from each company were hit three times to evaluate the effects of repeated blows. Other faceshields were struck once in sub-freezing temperatures. None of the faceshields broke under any of the impact conditions.

The highest velocity equated to an impact force of about 2,500 Newtons, or 562 pounds of force. Previous research has reported a maximum kicking motion impact of 2,439 Newtons, or 548 pounds of force, in soccer.

The researchers determined that new football faceshields hold up solidly to high-velocity impact, but whether that strength is maintained over the duration of one or more football seasons is open to debate and is part of continuing research.

The researchers also analyzed various qualities of the curved plastic that might affect vision such as light distribution, hazing or a prismatic effect that changes the direction of light. The shields exceeded standards related to these measures.

"Both brands are of high optical quality, and both hold up to high-velocity impact," Good said.

Though serious eye injuries in football are relatively rare, the researchers mentioned the case of Orlando Brown of the Cleveland Browns, whose eye was inadvertently hit by a refer
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Contact: Gregory Good
Good.3@osu.edu
614-292-5203
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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