For almost as long as American football has existed, it’s been assumed that helmets would protect players from a direct blow to the head. It now appears, however, that protection against a direct blow may not be enough.
Using sensors and a specialized test stand, engineers are discovering that the root causes of head trauma may lie in a complex pattern of forces that today’s helmets aren’t equipped to handle. The solution -- as indicated by studies performed on the new apparatus -- may lie in a helmet designed to protect against the effects of both linear and rotational forces.
“The results of our studies are pretty alarming, in terms of how little protection football helmets provide against concussions and traumatic brain injury,” John Lloyd, research director of Brains Inc., told more than 2,000 engineers during a keynote speech this week at NIWeek 2014 in Austin, Texas.
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