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J Biomech Eng. 2019 Mar 12. doi: 10.1115/1.4043140. [Epub ahead of print]

A review of impact testing methods for headgear in sports: Considerations for improved prevention of head injury through research and standards.

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Orthopaedic Injury Biomechanics Group, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Orthopaedics, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada; International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Transportation Research Center Inc., OH, USA; The Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ohio State University, OH, USA.
Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, SW7 2AZ, UK.
Rheon Labs Ltd., 11S Hewlett House, Havelock Terrace, London, SW8 4AS, UK.
MEA Forensic Engineers & Scientists, 11-11151 Horseshoe Way, Richmond, BC V7A 4S5, Canada; School of Kinesiology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Standards for sports headgear were introduced as far back as the 1960s and many have remained substantially unchanged to present day. Since this time, headgear has virtually eliminated catastrophic head injuries such as skull fractures and changed the landscape of head injuries in sports. Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is now a prevalent concern and the effectiveness of headgear in mitigating mTBI is inconclusive for most sports. Given that most current headgear standards are confined to attenuating linear head mechanics and recent brain injury studies have underscored the importance of angular mechanics in the genesis of mTBI, new or expanded standards are needed to foster headgear development and assess headgear performance that addresses all types of sport-related head and brain injuries. The aim of this review is to provide a basis for developing new sports headgear impact tests for standards by summarizing and critiquing: 1) impact testing procedures currently codified in published headgear standards for sports and 2) new or proposed headgear impact test procedures in published literature and/or relevant conferences. Research areas identified as needing further knowledge to support standards test development include defining sports-specific head impact conditions, establishing injury and age appropriate headgear assessment criteria, and the development of headgear specific head and neck surrogates for at-risk populations.


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