Title

Evaluating the Standards for Football Facemask Safety

School Name

South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics

Grade Level

12th Grade

Presentation Topic

Physiology and Health

Presentation Type

Mentored

Abstract

Football athletes rely on their headgear to protect them from traumatic brain injuries. Thus, it is necessary to verify that the standards for their equipment are designed to improve their safety. Our goal for this research was to explore whether facemask stiffness could be defined as a metric for facemask performance. The current metric being used to distinguish safe facemasks from unsafe facemasks has been defined by NOCSAE as 1/8 of an inch lateral deformation (width) of the facemask. This metric, however, fails to consider that the stiffness of the facemask also affects the facemask's performance, and that lower stiffness values may correspond to a decreased occurrence of traumatic brain injuries. By measuring the deformation of facemasks, we hoped to show whether width is a predictor of the stiffness of the facemask, and therefore whether the safety of a facemask is predictable using width as a metric. It is important to establish whether the NOCSAE Standards are relevant to the facemask's performance to ensure that football athletes are using safe equipment. For athletes who cannot afford to buy new equipment every year having a standard for the safety of their facemasks will allow them to buy new equipment only when their current equipment is unsafe.

Location

Furman Hall 201

Start Date

3-28-2020 12:00 PM

Presentation Format

Oral Only

Group Project

No

COinS
 
Mar 28th, 12:00 PM

Evaluating the Standards for Football Facemask Safety

Furman Hall 201

Football athletes rely on their headgear to protect them from traumatic brain injuries. Thus, it is necessary to verify that the standards for their equipment are designed to improve their safety. Our goal for this research was to explore whether facemask stiffness could be defined as a metric for facemask performance. The current metric being used to distinguish safe facemasks from unsafe facemasks has been defined by NOCSAE as 1/8 of an inch lateral deformation (width) of the facemask. This metric, however, fails to consider that the stiffness of the facemask also affects the facemask's performance, and that lower stiffness values may correspond to a decreased occurrence of traumatic brain injuries. By measuring the deformation of facemasks, we hoped to show whether width is a predictor of the stiffness of the facemask, and therefore whether the safety of a facemask is predictable using width as a metric. It is important to establish whether the NOCSAE Standards are relevant to the facemask's performance to ensure that football athletes are using safe equipment. For athletes who cannot afford to buy new equipment every year having a standard for the safety of their facemasks will allow them to buy new equipment only when their current equipment is unsafe.