The United States Army and the Joint IED Defeat Organization funded a study looking into various military and football helmet pads and their attenuation of concussive forces. Posted on R&D Magazine online the results were summed up this way;
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have found that soldiers using military helmets one size larger and with thicker pads could reduce the severity of traumatic brain injury (TBI) from blunt and ballistic impacts.
This would be a low-cost solution/improvement on current technology. The study did indicate that no material tested outperformed the current padding in the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH); they looked at old military padding, two types of padding in NFL helmets and “padding used in other protective equipment”.
The researchers Willy Moss and Mike King say that these results can be used in current sports too;
“Our methods and results also are applicable to the civilian sector, particularly contact sports helmet design,” King added…
“A combination of simulation and experiment like we’ve used here also could be used to evaluate and improve the design of various sports helmets. It’s very gratifying that this work can help protect our soldiers in the field and also benefit professional and youth athletes.”
This is a good place to start in regards to a cost-effective way of improving helmet technology in football and other collision sports. This information even gives credence to the GelCool System we highlighted a month ago.
We must also remember that being hit in the head is not the only way one can sustain a concussion. Although the padding would help mitigate impacts/blasts to the head, they would do little for the rotational and whiplash injuries that translate into concussive episodes.
Every bit does help. Thanks to Matt Chaney for the heads up on this article.