The Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings™ system is an independent, third-party testing program not affiliated with any manufacturer. Any player in any sport can sustain a head injury with even the very best head protection. This analysis is based on data trends and probabilities, and therefore a specific person's risk may vary. This variation is likely dominated by genetic differences, health history, and impact factors such as muscle activation.
Can helmet design reduce the risk of concussion in football? (Technical note)
Keeping safety first.
Over the past 60 years, researchers across the planet have worked to understand the biomechanics of concussion and associated brain injuries. This chapter presents a summary of these efforts that begin with the human cadaver research performed in the 1950s and served as the foundation for the severity index and head injury criterion injury metrics. Following this research, experiments were performed on primates in order to quantify the injury physiology associated with concussion. More recently, the National Football League reconstructed concussive impacts and presented the first injury risk functions for concussion. The fourth dataset includes over two million head impacts measured with helmet instrumentation on volunteers playing football. By analyzing all of these data together, researchers have presented an array of injury risk functions for concussion that use both linear and rotational head acceleration parameters. Laboratory experiments utilize these risk functions to evaluate the performance of helmets and their ability to reduce the risk of concussion. Clinical studies have been performed that support and confirm the laboratory findings. The future of helmet testing will utilize a new impact system that more accurately reflects the head and neck kinematics the players experience during head impacts in sports.