Stefan Duma, the Virginia Tech professor of biomedical engineering and department head of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, is directing a new study to instrument and map the head impact exposure of youth football players for all age groups from 6 years through 18 years. Here he fits a young player with a helmet.

“Every Newton Hertz”

Stefan Duma, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head, Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, will speak as part of the UC Davis Biomedical Engineering Department’s Distinguished Seminar Series Thursday, 3/8/12 at 4:00 PM (1005 GBSF). Dr. Duma is one of the nation’s foremost scientists in the study of concussions. His rating system for football helmets has rocked the sports world since its release last spring and escalated the debate surrounding concussions in sports. Dr. Duma’s lecture, Every Newton Hertz, will discuss findings from his study recently published online in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering called,  Head Impact Exposure in Youth Football (open access).

While the head impact exposure for athletes involved in football at the college and high school levels has been well documented, the head impact exposure of the youth population involved with football has yet to be investigated. This is despite the fact that 70% of football participants are in the youth leagues, over three million per year in the U.S. Dr. Duma’s group monitored impacts during both games and practices for 7 players aged 7-8 years old for the entire 2011 season. A 12 accelerometer array was equipped inside of the helmets of the participants and acceleration data were downloaded wirelessly to characterize the impact exposure of the participants. A total of 748 impacts were collected for the 7 participating players during the season, with an average of 107 impacts per player. The recorded linear accelerations ranged from 10 g to 100 g, and the recorded rotational accelerations ranged from 52 rad/s2 to 7694 rad/s2.

Surprisingly, the majority of the high level impacts occurred during practices, with 29 of the 38 impacts above 40 g occurring in practices. Although less frequent, youth football can produce high head accelerations in the range of concussion causing impacts measured in adults. In order to minimize these most severe head impacts, Dr. Duma’s  paper concludes that youth football practices should be modified to eliminate high impact drills that do not replicate the game situations. This finding has caused a sensation on ESPN, Discovery News, Stone Phillips Reports, and all over the media. The audience will have a chance to ask questions after the lecture.

Stefan Duma is the founding Director of the Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB) at Virginia Tech-Wake Forest and has personally been awarded over $35 million in externally funded research from the NIH, CDC, NSF, DOD, DOT, and a range in industrial sponsors.  He has published over 300 technical papers in the field of injury biomechanics including over 100 peer reviewed journal papers and two books. Dr. Duma is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine and his research has been recognized with numerous best paper awards at the Stapp and AAAM Conferences.

When: Thursday, 3/8/12 4:00 PM
Where: 1005 GBSF, UC Davis