Protective Helmet in Sports

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Kinesiology; Polymers and High Performance Materials


The physical, cognitive, emotional, and financial costs associated with head injuries in sport can be great. Head injuries in sport can take different forms that range from obvious structural damage of the skull, mandible, and soft tissue to the subtler mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Regardless of injury type, most head injuries in sport typically result from biomechanical forces generated from either a head-to-object collision (e.g., playing surface or another player) or projectile-to-head collision (e.g., ball or stick). Over the modern era severe sport-related head injuries (e.g., skull fracture) have declined, but sport-related mTBIs—also referred to as sport-related concussions (SRCs)—have increased. This trend is highly problematic because of the serious nature of SRC’s symptoms, inherent sequelae (e.g., postconcussion syndrome and second impact syndrome), and potential for long-term cognitive decline (e.g., chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Since 2001 the International Symposium on Concussion in Sport has defined concussion as a “complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces.” The definition continues to include several features that can be used to define the nature of concussion. The most recent definition of SRC developed at the 5th International Symposium on Concussion in Sport held in Berlin in 2016 defines SRC as “a traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces.” The definition goes on to include several common features that could be used to define the nature of a concussion. These biomechanical forces can be generated via direct insult to the head or neck region or by forces encountered elsewhere on the body that are transmitted to the head. Unfortunately, uncertainty still exists for healthcare medical providers regarding the recognition of concussion, particularly for on-field providers and the best methods to prevent SRC. The primary objective of this chapter is to provide a broad overview of protective helmets in sport, their composition, and manufacturing processes.

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Materials in Sports Equipment

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