NI Week features John Lloyd football helmet expert

I had the privilege to present my research on football helmets as part of the Keynote address at the National Instrument conference in Austin, TX this week. The audience of 5,000+ attendees learned about my research into biomechanics of the brain.

 

It has been said that helmets cannot prevent concussions. I disagree.

As a biomechanist I have dedicated my career to studying the biomechanics of brain injuries. There are two key mechanical forces that give rise to head and brain injuries (1) linear forces, which are responsible for visible injuries, including bruising and skull fractures, and (2) rotational forces, which cause invisible injuries, such as concussion and brain injury.

Since helmets are currently designed to pass testing standards that focus on linear forces only, it is no surprise that helmets have limited benefit in preventing concussions. Through advances in medicine we have learned that concussions can potentially have life-long neurological consequences, including memory impairement and personality changes / behavioral effects.

Over the past years I have developed and validated a testing method to evaluate helmets in terms of their ability to protect against both linear and rotational forces. Using this apparatus I characterized football helmets, results of which have been submitted to Science for publication.

Based on lessons learned from my biomechanical evaluation of various sports helmets, I have devised a matrix of shear-thickening non-Newtonian materials. A prototype helmet was constructed using this matrix liner, results of which show that rotational forces that cause concussion and other brain injuries are reduced by up to 50% compared to a leading football helmet, while also reducing linear forces.

helmet prototype reduces concussion risk

helmet prototype reduces concussion risk

It is my goal and my passion to work with leading helmet companies to make this technology available to players and sports participants of all aged to enhance their protection against brain trauma. I am looking to collaborate with one manufacturer in each sport to offer an exclusive license patent-pending technology.

New Football Helmet Reduces Concussion Risk

John Lloyd of Lloyd Industries, Inc. announced today that football head injuries and concussions can be reduced up to 50 percent with their new helmet safety breakthrough. 

football helmet prototype

football helmet prototype

San Antonio, FL – Dr.John Lloyd PhD of Lloyd Industries, Inc. announced their latest breakthrough in football helmet safety today. The unique new helmet technology promises to provide up to 50 percent more protection against football head injuries and concussions. The technology has wide application and can be used in every kind of helmet from baby helmets to military helmets, and for all athletes at risk of concussion and head injuries such as football players, cyclists, skiers, snowboarders, skateboarders, hockey players, baseball players, lacrosse players, boxers, soccer players, equestrian / horse-riding sports, such as polo and horse racing, as well as motorcycle and race car drivers.

Recent medical research documents found that concussions and cumulative head impacts can lead to lifelong neurological consequences such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease known as CTE and early Alzheimer’s.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates 1.6 – 3.8 million sport-related brain injuries annually in the United States. Of these 300,000 are attributed to youth football players, some of whom die from their injuries every year – a tragedy difficult for their mothers and families to recover from.

The severity of the issue touching both the nation’s youth and professional athletes has led to thousands of lawsuits and Congressional Hearings. Growing concern has spread to the White House where President Obama recently spoke at the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit.

The Lloyd Industries research team, led by renowned brain injury expert, Dr. John Lloyd, has worked for years on their project to help make sports safer. A controversial subject, some opponents have stated that concussion prevention is impossible. Dedicated to saving lives and preserving brain health, Dr. Lloyd and team persevered with their work leading to this new innovation. “Our results show that forces associated with concussion and brain injury are reduced up to 50% compared to similar testing with a leading football helmet,” said Dr. John Lloyd, Research Director.

helmet prototype reduces concussion risk

helmet prototype reduces concussion risk

“The patent-pending matrix of non-Newtonian materials will not only benefit football, but can be utilized in all sports helmets as well as military, motorcycle and even baby helmets to improve protection and dramatically reduce the risk of brain injuries,” reported Dr. Lloyd.

The materials are inexpensive, and produce a helmet that is considerably lighter and more comfortable than a traditional helmet.   Two additional applications of this new safety technology include medical flooring especially in hospitals and nursing homes or child play areas , as well as vehicle interiors.

 

About Lloyd Industries, Inc.

Lloyd Industries, Inc., located in San Antonio, Florida, is a research and development company focused on the biomechanics of brain injuries. The company was founded in 2004 by John D. Lloyd Bio, Ph.D., CPE, CBIS, Board Certified Ergonomist and Certified Brain Injury Specialist. He has also provided expert witness services nationwide for over 20 years in the fields of biomechanics, ergonomics and human factors, specializing in the biomechanics of brain injury, including sport and motorcycle helmet cases, slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents and pediatric head trauma. Lloyd Industries is open to licensing with manufacturers to bring this much-needed technology to market for the protection of sports participants and athletes of all ages. For additional information visit : http://drbiomechanics.com/sports-helmet-football-helmets/new-helmet-technology/  or call 813-624-8986.

The Latest Concussion Research

Dr. Frank Conidi and I presented our research, titled “How Well Do Football Helmets Protect Against Concussion and Brain Injury” at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Philadelphia on April 30th, 2014.

Tom Collins, a writer for Neurology Now wrote a summary of our presentation, which can be viewed by following this link

 

Infant Short Falls

Head Kinematics Associated with Short Falls in Children

John D. Lloyd, Ph.D., M.Erg.S., CPE, CBIS
Board Certified Ergonomist | Certified Brain Injury Specialist
32824 Michigan Avenue, San Antonio, FL 33576
Tel: (813) 624-8986
Email: John@DrBiomechanics.com

This study involved systematic assessments of falls from heights ranging from 2 to 6 ft onto varying flooring surfaces including concrete, linoleum, apartment grade carpeting with underlay, berber carpet with underlay, commercial carpeting without pad, and wood laminate.

A CRABI-12 biofidelic mannequin (29.5 in / 22lb), calibrated and certified by Denton ATD, Inc. and a Hybrid III-3 year old (37.2in / 35.65lb) biofidelic mannequin, calibrated and certified by Key Safety Systems, Inc. were used during this systematic evaluation of short falls.

A tri-axial piezo-electric accelerometer, was installed at the center of mass of the headforms, in accordance with convention described in SAE J211. Still photography and high-speed video (240Hz) was used to record the fall sequences.

A height adjustable platform was used to represent the fall surface. The platform has trap-doors which are held in place by electromagnets. Interruption of power to the electromagnets causes the sprung trapdoors to open instantaneously, thereby initiating the fall sequence.  One-hundred-and-seventy-five trials were completed to investigate biomechanical mechanisms of injury associated with short falls in children.

Data from the tri-axial piezo-electric accelerometer, mounted in the head of the biofidelic mannequin were acquired at a rate of 10,000 samples per second using LabView software. Data were analyzed using MatLab, including Fast Fourier Transform analysis to visualize the frequency spectrum of the data, followed by phase-less filtering using a 4th order low-pass Butterworth filter with a cut off frequency of 1650Hz (per SAE J211).

The peak magnitude value of head linear acceleration components was calculated and presented in G’s. This value was then used to compute Head Injury Criterion values.

As anticipated, the larger Hybrid III 3-year old biofidelic mannequin generated higher linear accelerations, HIC values and forces upon impact associated with short falls. Interestingly, both the CRABI12 infant-representative and Hybrid III toddler representative exceeded injury threshold values from a fall height of only 2 feet (61 cm), based on peak magnitude linear acceleration and Head Injury Criterion, which indicates that such short falls can cause substantial head / brain injuries in young children.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Biomechanical Evaluation of Head Kinematics During Infant Shaking Versus Pediatric Activities of Daily Living

John D. Lloyd, Ph.D., CPE, CBIS
Board Certified Ergonomist | Certified Brain Injury Specialist
32824 Michigan Avenue, San Antonio, FL 33576
Tel: (813) 624-8986
Email: John@DrBiomechanics.com

Abusive shaking of infants has been asserted as a primary cause of subdural bleeding, cerebral edema, and retinal hemorrhages. Manual shaking of various biofidelic mannequins, however, has failed to generate the head kinematics believed necessary to cause these intracranial symptoms in the human infant. This study seeks to compare linear and angular accelerations between infant shaking and pediatric activities of daily living.

Using sensors attached to the heads and torsos of two infant surrogates, the investigators collected linear and angular motion data during resuscitative, aggressive and gravity-assisted shaking as well as during various non-abusive activities normally experienced by infants, such as burping, rough play, etc. The researchers also collected data from a 7-month old infant child spontaneously at play in a commercial jumping toy. Results were compared between the experimental conditions, against other biomechanical studies of shaking and in contrast to accepted biomechanical thresholds of injury.

In these experiments, the peak rotational acceleration generated, averaged across nine adult subjects, during aggressive shaking of the CRABI-12 biofidelic mannequin (1068.3rad/s2) were both consistent with the reports of prior biomechanical studies and, most interestingly, statistically undifferentiated from angular accelerations spontaneously generated and well tolerated by a normal 7-month-old infant at play in a commercially available jumping toy (954.4rad/s2).

Non-contact shaking appears to result in head kinematics that are well tolerated by normal infants, even if these rotational accelerations are repetitive, as experienced by the infant at play. Our data would indicate that intracranial injury in an infant is unlikely to be the direct result of the linear and/or angular accelerations generated during non-contact shaking.

Dr. Lloyd Talks with Ben Utecht about Concussions in Football

I recently attended and presented at the 66th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, hosted by the City of Philadelphia. During my meeting I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes talking to retired football player, Ben Utecht.

Ben-Utecht

Ben Utecht  is perhaps best known playing for the Indianapolis Colts (2004-2008), His best season was the 2006 season, with 37 receptions for 377 yards. In the 2006 postseason, Utecht had 5 receptions for 41 yards. He would then go on to help the Colts win Super Bowl XLI

Ben-Utecht-superbowl

Utecht, suffered five known concussions during his football career. By late 2011, at only 30 years old, he was experiencing memory loss, attributable to his football-related brain injuries.  

Ben and I spoke about the effects of his football-related brain injuries. He described several events, which concerned him, including loss of any memories of a good friend’s wedding. Though memories of past events continue to evade him, now retired from football, he is thankful that he is able to enjoy family life with his wife and daughters without further consequences, though he is concerned about the possibility of effects later in life.

Utecht has said that he might have quit football earlier had he known of the potential risks of multiple concussions. Utecht describes himself as an advocate for awareness about traumatic brain injury. 

I described my research regarding biomechanical evaluation of football helmets, which Ben found very interesting. He was especially excited about the prospect of developing a new generation of football helmets that promise improved protection against concussion and the long-term consequences of football-related brain injuries for football players of all ages.

Ben is also

Ski Helmets Not The Best Protection Against Brain Injury

Helmets are designed with one purpose, that is to prevent skull fractures. But, what’s about the brain?

There is no doubt that ski helmets can and do prevent death. Take the recent accident of Formula One superstar, Michael Schumacher, who fell headfirst while skiing off-piste in the French Alps on December 29, 2013. Had he not been wearing a helmet when his head struck a rock, the result would be far more grave.

Michael-Schumacher-Skiing

Another tragic example is that all Sally Franklyn, an avid skier and writer, who tumbled 800 feet two years ago. Fortunately, Sally was also wearing a helmet which likely saved her life. However both Sally and Michael will have a lifelong scars of traumatic brain injury.

Sally-Francklyn-skiing

Dr. John Lloyd, a biomechanists from Tampa who has dedicated his career to the study of traumatic brain injury, has conducted a study on the protective properties ski helmets. While results show that wearing a ski helmet will dramatically improve protection against potentially fatal injury, findings also show that ski helmets may not provide sufficient protection for the brain against traumatic brain injury. The mechanism which causes a skull fracture is quite different from that which causes the traumatic brain injury.

ski-helmet-tests-2  ski-helmet-tests-1

We have a great physicist, Prof. Holbourn from Cambridge University in England, to thank for his 1943 paper on the mechanisms of head injuries. Dr. Holbourn showed, using a bowl full of Jell-O, that forces associated with linear acceleration all likely to give rise to focal head injuries, such as skull fractures. Whereas rotational forces are those more likely to give rise to brain injuries including concussion and brain bleeding.  This is because as you can see when trying to rotate a bowl full of Jell-O, the Jell-O moves greatest toward the center of the bowl

As to whether or not a better helmet can be designed to protect both the skull from fracture and the brain from traumatic injury, Dr. Lloyd says absolutely. In fact, within the scope of his research into helmet protection, Dr. Lloyd’s findings show that football helmets provide far greater protection of the head and brain from traumatic injury then do ski helmets.

Upon impact their are linear and rotational forces acting on the head. Rotational forces being tangential to the linear forces. If a tangential for snacks on a material such as EPS foam we would expect little, if any, deformation of the material since such materials, as shock absorbing materials, are designed to mitigate linea forces acting directly on them.