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Christopher Dennison, PhD

Christopher Dennison, PhD

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Alberta –


Impact severity metric for focal head and diffuse brain injury

Whether or not today’s helmets protect the wearer from mild diffuse brain injuries, sometimes referred to as concussions, is the topic of intense debate. One of the primary venues for this debate is in the helmet standards and certification community.

Typically, debate centers on how helmet test methods might change in response to the emerging knowledge on the biomechanical forces associated with head impact and resulting brain injury. More specifically, exactly how will helmet certification and test methods change, and what impact-severity measures best assess a helmet’s ability to mitigate severity and likelihood of brain injury? Dr Dennison and his colleagues are using data from over 1000 hockey and cycling helmet impacts to develop new metrics suitable for helmet testing relative to brain injury. These metrics may eventually be adopted by standards communities, resulting in testing protocols that assess helmet protection against both severe and mild brain injury.

(Photo: Richard Siemens)