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Sports Research

Expert Services

football_injuryHead and neck injuries are an unfortunate but relatively common occurrence in sports. Sometimes these injuries are devastating and result in permanent disability or death.   Helmets are designed to prevent serious head injuries, but sometimes a person may still sustain head and/or neck injuries while wearing one.  When this happens, it is important to know if the helmet design was effective or defective.  Did the helmet do its job within the context of the state-of-the-art?  Would the injury outcome have been different had the person been wearing a different product?

Other padding materials designed for protection in various sports, from gym mats to baseball outfield fence pads, have limitations to their protective capacity.  In the context of legal proceedings, it is important that the potential capabilities of these padding systems, and their limitations, be well understood and well communicated.

bike_accident_1Biokinetics provides expert services related to injury liability.  Investigation includes injury analysis, impact analysis, event reconstruction and laboratory testing.  Opinion is based on thirty-five years’ experience in sports-related head and neck injury as well as objective data-based test results.  We can provide expert reports, videos and testimony as required.  All our engineers are licensed through the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario.

Helmet Testing

Biokinetics operates a full-service helmet testing laboratory. Laboratory equipment includes two mono-rail drop towers, two twin-wire drop towers, dynamic and quasi-static helmet retention testers, stability testers and a linear impactor. We have a complete collection of ISO, DoT, Hybrid III and NOCSAE headforms. We have hot, cold and wet conditioning chambers, velocity sensing instrumentation and a fully computerized data acquisition and storage system.

Biokinetics currently performs helmet testing for development and certification*  to many CSA, ASTM, Snell, NOCSAE, DoT, CPSC and ISO standards. Specialized testing for materials evaluation and helmet design is supported by a wide assortment of acceleration and force sensors as well as high-speed video equipment.

*some certifications may only be finalized by the certifying agency

Motorsports Safety Research

racing_helmet_with_hy3_on_sled_at_MGAMotorsports safety has advanced tremendously in the last few decades. It was once relatively common to hear of devastating injuries and even death from collisions within automobile, motorcycle and other forms of motor racing. Advances in helmet technology, restraint systems, interior padding structures, structural crashworthiness, circuit designs as well as supplementary safety restraints like the HANS device have contributed to the overall safety of the racer.

mortimer_being_measured_in_his_carBut there remains room for improvement. Biokinetics continues to participate in developments towards improved motorsports safety. An example is recent and continuing project for an integrated head and neck system to reduce crash-induced neck strain and helmet weight-borne neck fatigue.

Mouth Guard Testing

multiple_mouthguardsMouth guards as we know them have been around for over a century. Originally designed to prevent lip and gum lacerations in boxing, they have evolved to provide excellent protection for teeth and surrounding soft tissue. They are available in many forms, from inexpensive self-formed boil-and-bite models up to professionally fitted custom laminated models. It is widely accepted that a properly fitting mouth guard can provide effective protection from dental injury.

image_of_Schutt_DNA_with_mouth_guardHowever, widespread claims have now surfaced that mouth guards can also prevent concussions. Proponents suggest that the mouth guard inserted between the upper and lower dentition introduces a ride-down space within the temporomandibular joint (also known as the jaw joint) which prevents the jaw from slamming into the base of the skull. Detractors suggest that there is currently no scientific evidence to support such claims. In reality, the study of a mouth guard’s influence on head acceleration is limited by the difficulties associated with medically monitoring a large control group wearing identical products and sustaining similar collision events.

mandible_headform_with_blue_mouthguardTo solve this problem objectively, Biokinetics developed a surrogate headform having an articulating mandible, dentition and force sensors positioned in the jaw (read more). A mouth guard is formed to match this headform’s dentition followed by impact tests to measure the mouth guard’s effectiveness in terms of force transmission and head acceleration. Experiments can be designed to simulate any collision scenario, sports or otherwise, where a mouth guard’s protective performance must be determined.

Protective Equipment Testing

body_paddingPersonal protective gear consists of guards or pads installed over various body regions. It protects the wearer from impact in two ways. First, it distributes impact force over a larger area, thus reducing the localized pressure at the point of contact. Secondly, it may absorb some of the impact energy by using resilient padding material or suspension systems. In both cases, effective design and evaluation of personal protective equipment relies on understanding and quantifying the typical threat as well as the human’s tolerance to injury at that body region.

equestrian_torso_protectorBiokinetics has considerable experience in the design and testing of all types of personal impact protection garments. From riot suits to equestrian torso protectors to spine protectors for Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians, we have designed numerous protection devices for numerous products. In every case we have developed specific test methods to optimize the design and rate it against competitors in the marketplace.

If need personal protective equipment designed for specific applications, or simply want to optimize your current designs for a leg-up in the marketplace, please give us a call.