Are they testing the right thing, when they “prove” football helmets help prevent concussion?

Stanford research suggests football helmet tests may not account for concussion-prone actions

Photo by L.A. Cicero – A multiple exposure shows the effect of an impact to the top of the helmet in a laboratory experiment. The dummy head is mounted on a biofidelic neck, and helps to realistically reconstruct field impacts. New Stanford research suggests that current football helmet tests may miss concussion-prone actions.

Mounting evidence suggests that concussions in football are caused by the sudden rotation of the skull. David Camarillo’s lab at Stanford has evidence that suggests current football helmet tests don’t account for these movements.

When modern football helmets were introduced, they all but eliminated traumatic skull fractures caused by blunt force impacts. Mounting evidence, however, suggests that concussions are caused by a different type of head motion, namely brain and skull rotation.

Now, a group of Stanford engineers has produced a collection of results that suggest that current helmet-testing equipment and techniques are not optimized for evaluating these additional injury-causing elements.

The ideal way to test any protective gear is to gain a sense of what causes the trauma, set up a system that replicates the way the trauma occurs, and then evaluate the gear against the injury-causing criteria. For the past several years, David Camarillo, an assistant professor of bioengineering and, by courtesy, of mechanical engineering at Stanford, and his students have been collecting and analyzing data in hopes of identifying the signature skull motions that cause concussions.

Continued on the Stanford Site here: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/july/football-helmet-tests-072015.html – click here to keep reading