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    For ASTM F-08: Protective Capacity of Ice Hockey Player Helmets against Puck Impacts

    Published: 2014

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    Many studies have assessed the ability of hockey helmets to protect against falls and collisions, yet none have addressed the injury risk associated with puck impacts. Thus, the purpose of this study was to document the capacity of a typical vinyl nitrile ice hockey helmet to reduce head accelerations and brain deformation caused by a puck impact. A bare and a helmeted Hybrid III male 50th percentile headform was struck with a puck three times to the forehead at 17, 23, 29, 35, and 41 m/s using a pneumatic puck launcher. Linear and rotational accelerations were captured using accelerometers fitted in the headform and used as input in the University College Dublin Brain Trauma Model to obtain brain deformation. The helmet reduced peak resultant linear acceleration, peak resultant rotational acceleration, and maximum principal strain, but a comparison with published brain injury risk curves shows that it did not reduce the concussion risk below 50 % for impacts at or above 23 m/s. Thus, a vinyl nitrile ice hockey helmet can protect players from direct puck impacts in amateur and youth leagues but may not be adequate in competitive elite leagues, where the puck can be shot at velocities well above 23 m/s. Furthermore, competitive adult male ice hockey players struck to the helmet by a puck may need to consider changing their helmet, as it was shown that direct impacts at or above 35 m/s decreased the helmet’s ability to reduce head peak linear acceleration in subsequent impacts.


    finite-element modeling, head injury, helmet, ice hockey, injury reconstruction, puck impact

    Author Information:

    Rousseau, P.
    Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory, Univ. of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

    Hoshizaki, T. B.
    School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Univ. College Dublin, Dublin,

    Gilchrist, M. D.
    School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Univ. College Dublin, Dublin,

    Committee/Subcommittee: F08.51

    DOI: 10.1520/STP155220120159