Product Analysis & Improvement

Enhancing Sports Gear Performance & Safety

Football players

Comparative safety testing for sports helmets

High-impact sports can cause concussions, intracranial hemorrhaging, and cranial fractures, and the use of protective equipment is critical in mitigating the harmful effects of injuries.

The Challenge

Helmets and protective headgear are tested to ensure that they meet regulatory performance and protection standards and are marketed with a safety validation label. However, as the global market for sports equipment and accessories continues to expand, there are increasing differences in manufacturing and production quality — not all protective sports gear is created equally.

Exponent's MULTIDISCIPLINARY Solution  

When the incidence rate of diagnosed mild traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, hit an all-time high, Exponent conducted a critical evaluation of the safety features and efficacy of headgear and novel technologies included in certified and non-certified sports equipment.

Exponent's Impact

Exponent tested cycling, motorcycle, snow sports, baseball, and football headgear as well as non-certified (novelty) helmets, which some may use for activities like biking and skateboarding, to determine their efficacy in reducing impact response and head injury potential.

Our team discovered a wide range of benefits in the certified equipment but noticed a marked difference, namely a lack of safety performance, among uncertified or unproven protection technologies. Exponent's work has contributed to an important body of research demonstrating the benefits and limitations of certified helmet use.