The NFL recently hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Richard Kent, an engineering expert who works at the intersection of biomechanics and sports, and Jennifer Langton, NFL Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives—to share a new toolkit designed to encourage innovation and advance designs of new and improved protective sports equipment. Read more about the toolkit and finite element (FE) models here.
NOW AVAILABLE: A New Engineering Resource for Football Helmet Design
As shared during the webinar (which you can view the recording of here), this new toolkit is now available to the public as a platform and baseline resource for injury prevention research and to stimulate the development of novel and highly effective helmet designs and prototypes. The open-source toolkit includes FE models of four modern football helmets, impact test dummy components, and test conditions simulating on-field impacts.
FE models are computational tools developed by breaking an object down into simpler parts (finite elements) and assembling them into a larger system of equations to model an entire structure—this facilitates the efficient analysis of design changes to that structure. FE models have been used to improve designs in many engineered products, including those in the aeronautics and automotive industries.
GET STARTED: Download Models & Learn More
With more data available on the types of impacts that cause head injuries, the engineering design of helmets and other protective equipment can be more targeted. We encourage all innovators and entrepreneurs who are working to develop effective helmet designs to explore the toolkit.
Learn More about the Engineering Roadmap
As part of the NFL’s Play Smart. Play Safe. initiative, the NFL pledged $60 million toward the creation and funding of a five-year project called the Engineering Roadmap, funded by the NFL and managed by Football Research, Inc. (FRI). The project, executed in collaboration with Biocore LLC, aims to improve the understanding of the biomechanics of head injuries in professional football and to create incentives for helmet manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, universities and others to develop and commercialize new and improved protective equipment, including helmets. Developing FE models for football helmets is just one of many ways that FRI is sharing research, data, tools and information to crowdsource and stimulate innovation. Additional resources:
TECH Challenge V is open now through June 6th, 2018—click here to learn more and submit a proposal.
Dr. Kent is a Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia, past Deputy Director of the UVA Center for Applied Biomechanics, Co-Founder of Biomechanics Consulting & Research, LLC (Biocore) and a consultant to the NFL Health and Safety Committee.