Over the last decade, advances in technology have enabled researchers to evaluate concussion biomechanics through measurement of head impacts sustained during play using two primary methods: (1) laboratory reconstruction of open-field head contact, and (2) instrumented helmets. The purpose of this study was to correlate measures of head kinematics recorded by the Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System (Simbex, NH) with those obtained from a Hybrid III (HIII) anthropometric headform under conditions that mimicked impacts occurring in the NFL. Linear regression analysis was performed to correlate peak linear acceleration, peak rotational acceleration, Gadd Severity Index (GSI), and Head Injury Criterion (HIC15) obtained from the instrumented helmet and HIII. The average absolute location error between instrumented helmet impact location and the direction of HIII head linear acceleration were also calculated. The HIT System overestimated Hybrid III peak linear acceleration by 0.9% and underestimated peak rotational acceleration by 6.1% for impact sites and velocities previously identified by the NFL as occurring during play. Acceleration measures for all impacts were correlated; however, linear was higher (r² = 0.903) than rotational (r² = 0.528) primarily due to lower HIT System rotational acceleration estimates at the frontal facemask test site. Severity measures GSI and HIC were also found to be correlated, albeit less than peak linear acceleration, with the overall difference between the two systems being less than 6.1% for either measure. Mean absolute impact location difference between systems was 31.2 ± 46.3° (approximately 0.038 ± 0.050 m), which was less than the diameter of the impactor surface in the test. In instances of severe helmet deflection (2.54–7.62 cm off the head), the instrumented helmet accurately measured impact location but overpredicted all severity metrics recorded by the HIII. Results from this study indicate that measurements from the two methods of study are correlated and provide a link that can be used to better interpret findings from future study using either technology.
Keywords: Head impact; Concussion; Biomechanics; Football