A reanalysis of football impact reconstructions for head kinematics and finite element modeling

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2019 Apr;64:82-89. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2018.02.019. Epub 2018 Mar 14.


Background: Head kinematics generated by laboratory reconstructions of professional football helmet impacts have been applied to computational models to study the biomechanics of concussion. Since the original publication of this data, techniques for evaluating accelerometer consistency and error correction have been developed. This study applies these techniques to the original reconstruction data and reanalyzes the results given the current state of concussion biomechanics.

Methods: Consistency checks were applied to the sensor data collected in the head of each test dummy. Inconsistent data were corrected using analytical techniques, and head kinematics were recalculated from the corrected data. Reconstruction videos were reviewed to identify artefactual impacts during the reconstruction to establish the region of applicability for simulations. Corrected head kinematics were input into finite element brain models to investigate strain response to the corrected dataset.

Findings: Multiple reconstruction cases had inconsistent sensor arrays caused by a problematic sensor; corrections to the arrays caused changes in calculated rotational head motion. These corrections increased median peak angular velocity for the concussion cases from 35.6 to 41.5 rad/s. Using the original kinematics resulted in an average error of 20% in maximum principal strain results for each case. Simulations of the reconstructions also demonstrated that simulation lengths less than 40 ms did not capture the entire brain strain response and under-predicted strain.

Interpretation: This study corrects data that were used to determine concussion risk, and indicates altered head angular motion and brain strain response for many reconstructions. Conclusions based on the original data should be re-examined based on this new study.

Keywords: Brain strain; Concussion; Finite element model; Football; Head kinematics; Laboratory reconstructions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Algorithms
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Equipment Design
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Football*
  • Head
  • Head Protective Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male