|Casque de hockey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Jeff Z. Klein, New York Times — Hockey helmets may be on the verge of a radical makeover, as scientists and engineers at Virginia Tech prepare a rating system that measures each brand’s and model’s ability to reduce the risk of concussion.As a former football player, I have always often wondered about difference between football helmets and hockey helmets. It's obvious that hockey helmets are a lot thinner and lighter than football helmets. Both sports (hockey and football) are extremely physical and both sports have a lot of high impact collisions. It will be interesting to see how the various hockey helmets are ranked.
“After football, hockey is the sport that produces the highest rate of concussion,” said Dr. Stefan M. Duma, a Virginia Tech professor and the head of the university’s biomedical engineering department. “We want to produce a mechanism to try and reduce that risk of concussion.”
That mechanism is a five-point rating scale called the STAR system, which the Virginia Tech football team began applying to its helmets in 2011. While there is still disagreement on whether concussions can be reduced by improving helmets, the football rating system quickly became influential, leading manufacturers to substantially increase internal padding. Sales for five-star football helmets have soared, and those for low-rated helmets plunged.
Virginia Tech engineers cut a hockey helmet and a five-star football helmet in half to show the contrast. The hockey helmet contained two thin layers of relatively rigid padding, but the football helmet had three thick layers of soft padding. The greater cushioning inside the football helmet is designed to slow the acceleration of the brain after a strong impact, thus lessening the risk of concussion.