Concussions are among the most common injuries sustained by ice hockey goaltenders and can result from collisions, falls and puck impacts. However, ice hockey goaltender helmet certification standards solely involve drop tests to a rigid surface. This study examined how the design characteristics of different ice hockey goaltender helmets affect head kinematics and brain strain for the three most common impact events associated with concussion for goaltenders. A NOCSAE headform was impacted under conditions representing falls, puck impacts and shoulder collisions while wearing three different types of ice hockey goaltender helmet models. Resulting linear and rotational acceleration as well as maximum principal strain were measured for each impact condition. The results indicate that a thick liner and stiff shell material are desirable design characteristics for falls and puck impacts to reduce head kinematic and brain tissue responses. However for collisions, the shoulder being more compliant than the materials of the helmet causes insufficient compression of the helmet materials and minimizing any potential performance differences. This suggests that current ice hockey goaltender helmets can be optimized for protection against falls and puck impacts. However, given collisions are the leading cause of concussion for ice hockey goaltenders and the tested helmets provided little to no protection, a clear opportunity exists to design new goaltender helmets which can better protect ice hockey goaltenders from collisions.
University College Dublin ->