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Evaluation of Football Helmets to Prevent Concussions

[+] Author Affiliations
David A. K. Kalapa

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Paper No. IMECE2014-36290, pp. V011T14A038; 10 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 11: Systems, Design, and Complexity
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4960-6
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Football players experience impacts to the head, some of which cause mild traumatic brain injuries known as concussions. Players wear helmets to reduce injury risk, and this study compares two helmets to determine their effectiveness in reducing potential concussions. The helmets analyzed are a “classic” type made of large foam pad pieces, and a “new” type made of small honeycomb pads. Both helmets share the same external polycarbonate shell & padding materials. Three helmet to helmet collisions are studied: case one: “classic on classic,” case two: “classic on new,” & case three: “new on new.” Using finite element analysis method, stresses and contact pressures are calculated. For three collisions with the same forces applied, a player in case one experiences 0.96 MPa contact pressure at the skull, while a player in case three experiences 0.87 MPa. In case two the player wearing the “new” helmet is exposed to 0.9 MPa at the skull, while the player wearing the “classic” is exposed to 0.95 MPa at the skull. It is concluded that if a player uses a “classic” instead of “new” helmet, pressure on the skull is reduced by 9.4%, reducing the risk of that player sustaining a concussion.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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