Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: David Sprott, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, tru welu, Blue Box Blog

News Feed Item

HeadSmart Labs Pilot Study Suggests Potential Safety Risk with Football Helmet Inflation

Air Leak Issue in Helmets Could Increase Player's Risk of Sustaining Head or Neck Injuries

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- HeadSmart™Labs, a Healy Ventures LLC company, today announced preliminary findings from its pilot study on football helmet inflation. The study indicated a widespread air leak issue where Riddell brand air-bladder equipped helmets were unable to sustain inflated air pressure which could potentially pose an increased risk of concussion to athletes who wear the helmets while participating in football.

HeadSmart Labs was founded to develop new approaches, testing devices, and products that will aid in the prevention of head and neck injuries sustained by athletes who wear helmets during collision sports like American football.

In the course of conducting testing to determine the optimum air pressure for inflation of air bladders in football helmets to best reduce the transfer of impacts through the helmet, it was discovered that a significant number of helmets were unable to sustain inflated air pressure. The cause of the loss in air pressure was mainly attributed to leaky air valves on the helmets. HeadSmart Labs employed a standard, simple test to determine the source of an air leak: a mild solution of dishwashing liquid soap and water sprayed on the valves shortly after inflating the helmet to detect if air bubbles formed on the inflation valve.

"We have tested over 100 air-bladder equipped football helmets from Rawlings, Riddell, and Schutt at the collegiate and high school level, which included recently reconditioned as well as brand new, never worn helmets," said Thomas Healy, founder of HeadSmart Labs, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Mechanical Engineering graduate student, and NCAA student-athlete playing for the CMU Tartans football team. "We were alarmed to see that when a helmet failed to hold air pressure, in most instances it was directly caused by the valves on the helmet leaking. After several minutes or hours, many helmets had lost significant amounts of air."

During testing, helmets were initially inflated and then set aside to allow the air bladders to expand and equalize for at least 10 minutes. The lab then inflated all of the air bladders to 5PSI. From there researchers let the helmets sit for at least 30 minutes before rechecking the air pressure to determine the inflation level of each of the helmet's pads.

HeadSmart Labs found that over half of the Riddell brand helmets tested began leaking air at a significant rate once they were inflated, while only a limited number of Schutt and Rawlings helmets experienced air leak issues.

"This is extremely concerning. We had hoped to conduct further testing but we have found that teams are no longer willing to let us test their helmets because if we find that their helmets have an issue, they do not have an effective way to fix them," said Healy.

HeadSmart Labs was initially conducting testing on helmets to determine how inflation affects the dampening of impacts in helmets.  From this they found that helmet inflation alone can reduce the transfer of impacts through the helmet to the head by up to 30 percent.

"By using National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) style testing, we have seen that by simply inflating the helmet, we can significantly lessen impacts to the head," Healy said. "Many football helmets worn by players today, from Pop Warner to the NFL, are already air-bladder equipped but the technology needs to work correctly and be utilized to be effective."

Regardless of helmet brand, Healy recommends either players, parents and/or coaches check the air pressure in helmets each time it is being used. To help identify if inflation valves are the source of leaks, HeadSmart Labs suggests:

  • Place helmet on player's head and inflate it per manufacturer's suggestions.
  • Once inflated to a snug fit, and while on player's head, take a mixture of mild soap and water and drip some over each of the valves on the helmet. If the solution bubbles up then the valve is leaking air.
  • Helmets can also leak air though the air pads so it is important to monitor inflation pressures and make sure the helmet remains properly inflated.

If it is discovered that a player's helmet is unable to adequately maintain air pressure, HeadSmart Labs recommends the issue be brought to the attention of the helmet manufacturer, team equipment manager, and/or coaching staff for appropriate resolution. HeadSmart Labs has filed a report of the preliminary findings with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for further investigation.

HeadSmart Labs has developed the SMART Helmet Safety Checklist and suggests players follow it on a frequent basis, (download at www.HeadSmartLabs.com).  

HeadSmart Labs is participating in NineSigma's GE NFL Head Health Grand Challenge, a $10M program seeking solutions that produce advancements in preventing, measuring and detecting brain injury, innovative brain protective materials and devices, and training methods that result in behavior modifications.

About HeadSmart™ Labs, a Healy Ventures LLC company 
HeadSmart™ Labs is a research company founded by Thomas Healy to develop new approaches, testing devices, and products to aid in the prevention of head injuries from impact sports where helmets are required. HeadSmart Labs is currently working with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, and student athletes from Carnegie Mellon's football team, to develop these products. www.HeadSmartLabs.com

Media Contact:
Matt McCarthy
Warner Communications
617-302-5669; [email protected]  

SOURCE HeadSmart Labs

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective ...
Collecting data in the field and configuring multitudes of unique devices is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that can stretch IT resources. Horan & Bird [H&B], Australia’s fifth-largest Solar Panel Installer, wanted to automate sensor data collection and monitoring from its solar panels and integrate the data with its business and marketing systems. After data was collected and structured, two major areas needed to be addressed: improving developer workflows and extending access to a b...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Move from reactive to proactive cloud management in a heterogeneous cloud infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Manoj Khabe, Innovative Solution-Focused Transformation Leader at Vicom Computer Services, Inc., will show how to replace a help desk-centric approach with an ITIL-based service model and service-centric CMDB that’s tightly integrated with an event and incident management platform. Learn how to expand the scope of operations management to service management. He will al...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impac...
2015 predictions circa 1970: houses anticipate our needs and adapt, city infrastructure is citizen and situation aware, office buildings identify and preprocess you. Today smart buildings have no such collective conscience, no shared set of fundamental services to identify, predict and synchronize around us. LiveSpace and M2Mi are changing that. LiveSpace Smart Environment devices deliver over the M2Mi IoT Platform real time presence, awareness and intent analytics as a service to local connecte...
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of E...
Amazon and Google have built software-defined data centers (SDDCs) that deliver massively scalable services with great efficiency. Yet, building SDDCs has proven to be a near impossibility for companies without hyper-scale resources. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, David Cauthron, CTO and Founder of NIMBOXX, highlighted how a mid-sized manufacturer of global industrial equipment bridged the gap from virtualization to software-defined services, streamlining operations and costs while connect...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
Container technology is sending shock waves through the world of cloud computing. Heralded as the 'next big thing,' containers provide software owners a consistent way to package their software and dependencies while infrastructure operators benefit from a standard way to deploy and run them. Containers present new challenges for tracking usage due to their dynamic nature. They can also be deployed to bare metal, virtual machines and various cloud platforms. How do software owners track the usag...
paradigm shifts in networking, to cloud and licensure, and all the Internet of Things in between. In 2014 automation was the name of the game. In his session at DevOps Summit, Matthew Joyce, a Sales Engineer at Big Switch, will discuss why in 2015 it’s complexity reduction. Matthew Joyce, a sales engineer at Big Switch, is helping push networking into the 21st century. He is also a hacker at NYC Resistor. Previously he worked at NASA Ames Research Center with the Nebula Project (where OpenSta...
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will address the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affec...