Sports-related concussions constitute 20 percent of brain injuries each year in the United States. Concussion research has included a variety of instrumentation and techniques to measure head accelerations. Most recently, the Head Impact Telemetly (HIT) System (Simbex, Lebanon, NH), a wireless system that provides real-time data from impacts, is used to measure in-situ head accelerations in collegiate football. The purpose of this study is to compare helmet shell acceleration to head center of gravity acceleration using two measures of linear head acceleration. A study of 50 helmet to helmet impact tests using a pendulum provided a range of head accelerations from 5 g to 50 g. The primary measure of head acceleration is accelerometers mounted at the center of gravity of the Hybrid III head. A secondary measure is the in-helmet HIT System. The series of 50 pendulum impacts included three impact velocities of 2.0 m/s, 3.5 m/s and 5.0 m/s at four different impact locations. The impact locations were on the side, back, top and just above the facemask on the front. By comparing these two measured head accelerations and the helmet acceleration during a pendulmn impact, it is shown that the response of the head and the helmet vary greatly and the in-helmet system matches the head and not helmet acceleration. Specifically, head acceleration is less than 10 percent of hehnet acceleration in football impacts; moreover, the HIT System is able to accurately measure the head acceleration.
Keywords: Head; Helmet; Acceleration; Football; Impact; Sport; Safety; Injury; Concussion