Volume 9, Issue 4 (April 2012)
The Influence of Headform Circumference and Mass on Alpine Ski Helmet Performance in Laboratory Tests
With over 200 million individuals participating in alpine skiing and snowboarding worldwide, the number of trauma-related cases and fatalities are on the rise. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in particular, are the most common cause of serious injury and death among skiers and snowboarders, with young participants being identified at greater risk for head injury than adults. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the influence of head mass and geometry on the impact performance of alpine ski helmets in laboratory conditions. To accomplish this, extra large helmets were tested on a monorail drop system, with different mass and geometry conditions. The results indicate that the helmets tested with a heavier mass headform yielded lower linear accelerations than the other conditions. The geometry condition indicates that the helmets tested with the smaller headform yield lower accelerations, which implies that materials respond differently depending on the impact footprint. This could indicate that the mass difference and geometry of the headform are an important factor in the performance of helmet liners under laboratory test conditions.