Identifying Vulnerable Impact Locations to Reduce the Occurrence of Deadly Commotio Cordis Events in Children's Baseball: A Computational Approach

J Biomech Eng. 2022 May 1;144(5):051005. doi: 10.1115/1.4052886.


Commotio cordis is the second leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Currently available chest protectors on the market are ineffective in preventing cases of commotio cordis in young athletes who play baseball. This study focused on using contour maps to identify specific baseball impact locations to the chest that may result in instances of commotio cordis to children during baseball games. By identifying these vulnerable locations, we may design and develop chest protectors that can provide maximum protection to prevent commotio cordis in young athletes. Simulation cases were run using the validated CHARM-10 chest model, a detailed finite element model representing an average 10-year-old child's chest. A baseball model was developed in company with the chest model, and then used to impact the chest at different locations. A 7 × 8 impact location matrix was designed with 56 unique baseball impact simulations. Left ventricle strain and pressure, reaction force between the baseball and chest, and rib deformations were analyzed. Left ventricle strain was highest from baseball impacts directly over the left ventricle (0.34) as well as impacts slightly lateral and superior to the cardiac silhouette (0.34). Left ventricle pressure was highest with impacts directly over the left ventricle (82.94 kPa). We have identified the most dangerous impact locations resulting in high left ventricle strain and pressure. This novel study provided evidence of where to emphasize protective materials for establishing effective chest protectors that will minimize instances of commotio cordis in young athletes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries* / complications
  • Athletic Injuries* / prevention & control
  • Baseball*
  • Child
  • Commotio Cordis* / complications
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / complications
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / prevention & control