Symposium on Safety in Ice Hockey – May 5-6, 2002
A NEW STANDARD OF CARE IN ABSORBING AND DISSIPATING FORCES
Dr. C. J. Abraham, P.E. *
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Over the course of several decades sports protection technology has been developed and optimized so that the users of various sports products have been offered a means to protect themselves from serious and permanent injuries. However, due to size, weight and shape of helmets and protective gear, the protection, at best, is limited. To date, there have been many attempts to enhance the absorption and dissipation of forces without significantly changing the size of the protective device. One exception that was successful was the flexible facemask patented by C. J. Abraham in 1982 and 1986 that was licensed and manufactured by Riddell (1,2). It is used in the sport of football. The weight and design of this piece of equipment have been significant in changing said facemasks.
At the present time, professionals in football and ice hockey continue to receive head and bodily injuries that force them to prematurely to retire. Amateurs, also incurring similar injuries, are forced out of their respective games as well. The state of technology of protective equipment is at a standstill. No significant improvements have been made to raise the standard of care in order to reduce the number of permanent injuries reported each year. By creating a new standard of care, a reduction in the risk of injury in many sports activities is an obvious and beneficial result.
The undersigned has developed and tested a novel series of designs in protective equipment that absorbs and dissipates more forces than any system available to date. Without optimizing the system, the enhancement in helmets alone, has resulted in the reduction of forces ranging from sixteen (16) to thirty-nine (39) percent, dependent on the type of helmet and area tested.
The designs tested above have applications in many areas. However, the limiting factor in applying the principles and designs is the practical and economical method to manufacture a universal system. A few approaches attempting to solve this problem and tests performed applying these suggestions are demonstrated and discussed.
* Director – Scientific Advisory Services, Ltd.