The ranking of Virginia Tech helmets for the risk of concussion now includes snow sports

Helmets designed to protect athletes and enthusiasts from harm are not equally designed – and researchers at Virginia Tech have added snow sports equipment to the equipment they analyze for effectiveness.

Helmets designed to protect athletes and enthusiasts from harm are not equally designed – and researchers at Virginia Tech have added snow sports equipment to the equipment they analyze for effectiveness.

“We just published our first set of snow helmet rankings, including helmets for skiing and snowboarding,” said Steve Rawson, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics who runs the Virginia Helmets Laboratory. “We tested 35 helmets and found a performance range.”

Helmets are different brands, price and anti-rotation technology. All certified for use.

“They adopt a standard that says they’re safe and that you probably won’t get catastrophic injuries,” Rawson said. “What we’re doing is identifying the helmets that best reduce the risk of concussions.”

You don’t have to spend more to be better protected.

“When we look at things like price, it doesn’t always show how safe it is. Some of our best helmets cost the same as the helmets in the lower half of the readings, ”Rawson said.

The researchers looked at how skiers and snowboarders fall, using advanced video analysis to determine the location and speed of the impact.

“We simulate this type of punch using an inclined anvil, which allows us to have both down and forward punches,” Rawson said.

Helmets with the highest rating have worked well in restricting head rotation, which is associated with the risk of brain injury. The rating of helmets has declined as this rotation has tended to increase.

Earlier, the lab evaluated equipment for university football, youth football, flag football, hockey, bicycle and football. Rugby equipment ratings are expected next month.

You can find all the ratings on the Virginia Tech website.

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