Title page for ETD etd-05052005-095632

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Manoogian, Sarah Jeanette
URN etd-05052005-095632
Title Analysis of Linear Head Accelerations From Collegiate Football Impacts
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Duma, Stefan M. Committee Chair
Brolinson, P. Gunnar Committee Member
Gabler, Hampton Clay Committee Member
Stitzel, Joel D. Committee Member
  • Football
  • Concussion
  • Head
  • Acceleration
Date of Defense 2005-04-22
Availability unrestricted
Sports related concussions result in 300,000 brain injuries in the United States each year. The purpose of this study was to utilize an in-helmet system that measures and records linear head accelerations to analyze head impacts from collegiate football. The Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System is an in-helmet system with six spring mounted accelerometers and an antenna that transmits data via radio frequency to a sideline receiver and laptop computer system. The data reported by the HIT System includes the time of impact, location of impact, and linear acceleration resultant of the head center of gravity. The algorithm and in-helmet application for this system were validated in five series of tests. In particular, the validation emphasized that the HIT System measurements are of the player’s head and not helmet accelerations as evidenced by the helmet acceleration being 16.6 (± 3.2) times greater than the peak head accelerations measured by the HIT System and dummy cg accelerometers. Using 130 head impacts in five different test configurations, the mean error in measuring peak linear acceleration was 0.01% (±18%). A total of 11,604 head impacts were recorded from the Virginia Tech football team throughout the 2003 and 2004 football seasons during 22 games and 62 practices from a total of 52 players. The acceleration data distribution was right skewed with a mean impact acceleration magnitude of 20.9 g and maximum value of 172.6 g. The HIC determined for each impact from a 15 millisecond time period was similarly distributed with the mean equal to 17.9, and the maximum equal to 969.6. A total of three impacts with three different players resulted in concussions. These impacts had peak linear accelerations of 55.7 g, 136.7 g, and 117.6 g with HIC values of 120.6, 518.4, and 355.6 respectively. Each of these hits was among the highest recorded for each respective player. Although the incidence of injury data is limited, this study presents an extremely large data set from human head impacts that provides valuable insight into the lower bounds of mild traumatic brain injuries.
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