The influence of surface padding properties on head and neck injury risk

J Biomech Eng. 2001 Oct;123(5):432-9. doi: 10.1115/1.1389086.


A validated computational head-neck model was used to understand the mechanical relationships between surface padding characteristics and injury risk during impacts near the head vertex. The study demonstrated that injury risk can be decreased by maximizing the energy-dissipating ability of the pad, choosing a pad stiffness that maximizes pad deformation without bottoming out, maximizing pad thickness, and minimizing surface friction. That increasing pad thickness protected the head without increasing neck loads suggests that the increased cervical spine injury incidence previously observed in cadaveric impacts to padded surfaces relative to lubricated rigid surfaces was due to increased surface friction rather than pocketing of the head in the pad.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / physiopathology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / prevention & control
  • Friction
  • Head Protective Devices
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neck Injuries / etiology*
  • Neck Injuries / physiopathology
  • Neck Injuries / prevention & control
  • Protective Devices
  • Risk Factors