A professor from University of Florida, Ghatu Subhash, recently designed a safer helmet for football players which may reduce traumatic brain injuries. *Source: http://news.ufl.edu/2014/01/09/safe-helmets/ (With playoffs underway, UF researchers offer a safer football helmet)
Ghatu Subhash, a University of Florida Research Foundation Professor and the Knox T. Millsaps Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and his collaborators have designed a helmet that is very different from the helmet that a football player currently uses. The helmet may protect players against traumatic brain injuries because it accounts for 2 kinds of force football players encounter while playing football.
According to Subhash, most football helmets are designed to endure a linear force. A linear hit is a centered, frontal hit that pushes the head straight back. The helmet he designed also takes into account rotational force. A rotational hit happens when the frontal hit misses the middle of the helmet and slides to the side because the helmet is round. This motion causes a shearing motion that jostles the brain inside the skull. “This rotational force can be serious even when the impact is low.” Subhash said.
Both linear and rotational forces cause traumatic brain injuries and require different kinds of protection. Subhash’s helmets have two kinds of protective chambers to cushion the skull when players are hit.
One of the protective layers uses Newtonian fluids, which consist of water and air. The other layer uses special fluids called non-Newtonian fluids, which are like gels. Together, these 2 layers form a protective padding to reduce the impact to the head. Further, the 2 layers absorb, distribute energy and neutralize the force from a hit. More importantly, regardless of the type of force, linear or rotational, the chambers respond from any angle of impact and automatically protect any part of the head.
So far, the cushion layers have worked well in the laboratory, and the next stage will be testing with companies interested in making and offering the helmets.
With all of the attention on the correlation between brain injuries and football players, something has to be changed to protect the players. This new helmet could be vital in protecting football players, whether high school or professional players, from sustaining permanent traumatic brain injuries and even death.
If you or a loved one sustained a traumatic brain injury while playing football, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To explore your legal rights, call the sports injury and traumatic brain injury lawyers at White and Williams. 877.944.8396