A team of Clemson University researchers and an Upstate businessman believe they can help make football a little safer by creating a facemask that can help reduce the severity of head injuries by increasing overall helmet protection.
The researchers are Gregory Batt, an assistant professor in the Clemson food, nutrition and packaging sciences department; John DesJardins, an associate professor of bioengineering and director of the Laboratory of Orthopaedic Design and Engineering; and Alex Bina, a doctoral student in bioengineering who also is a graduate research assistant in food, nutrition and packaging sciences.
They are teaming up with Jay Elmore, owner of Green Gridiron to determine how future designs of facemasks can help improve the overall safety of football helmets.
The team has received a nearly $50,000 grant from the Robert H. Brooks Sports Science Institute for their study “Quantifying the Impact Performance of Football Helmet Facemasks.”
“What we’re working on is trying to understand and evaluate the role a football helmet facemask plays in the overall impact performance of a football helmet system,” Bina said.
“We’re doing this by evaluating the mechanisms by which forces are transmitted from the facemask through the rest of the helmet system upon impact.”
Impact Forces on Face Masks
The forces Bina refers to are g-forces, which result from accelerations experienced by the head during impact.
Bina and the rest of the team are working to make helmets more safe by creating a facemask that can help the helmet transfer g-forces away from the head.
Traditional helmet design produces protective equipment that gradually decelerates the head upon impact.
Facemasks are to prevent direct contact with players’ faces.