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Publication Abstract

Helmet Prototype Response Time Assessment Using NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Football Athletes

Shelly, Z., Stewart, E., Fonville, T. R., Burch V, R. F., Chander, H., Strawderman, L., May, David C., Smith, J. E., Carruth, D. W., & Bichey, C. (2019). Helmet Prototype Response Time Assessment Using NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Football Athletes. International Journal of Kinesiology & Sports Science. Australian International Academic Centre. 7(4), 53-65. DOI:10.7575/aiac.ijkss.v.7n.4p.53.

Background: With advances in concussion research, an increasing amount of resources are being allocated to advancing football helmet technology. Objective: This study assesses the claim that a new modified helmet prototype provides greater field of view for the user as compared to a commonly worn helmet by players. Method: The helmets—Riddell SpeedFlex and the modified helmet—were compared based on user response time while performing a response test task using the FITLIGHT Trainer system, actual helmet field of view blockage, users’ subjective perception of field of view, and balance tests. Eighteen National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 American football student-athletes completed the response test task and questionnaire. Results: The results demonstrate evidence that the SpeedFlex helmet provided by the equipment staff significantly increases wearers’ response times, F(2,20) = 5.646, p < 0.05. Also, while the quantification of the field of view perception was similar across helmet types, the student-athlete participants perceived the modified helmet to have significantly more field of view while performing the response test task, 1.56 v. 2.56; p < 0.05 for frontal vision and 2.83 v. 5.39; p < 0.05 for peripheral vision. Conclusion: In addition to the findings, this study also lays out a response time test protocol using the FITLIGHT Trainer system that can be used for assessment of response time testing of football and other helmets in future studies.