Published on July 10, 2012 at 7:58 AM
The Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) announced today it awarded a $200,000 Prospective Clinical Research Grant to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation to study ways to reduce the risk of spine, neck and head injuries to adults and youth playing football.
Edward C. Benzel, MD, principal investigator for the project and chair, Department of Neurological Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, indicated that the OREF-supported study will explore how the design of football helmets and other protective equipment, as well as the rules of play, might be modified to better shield young collision sport players from catastrophic trauma.
"Helmet design, for example, assumes a more or less linear relationship between athlete size and the protection required. A smaller helmet for a smaller head has been the assumed standard," explained Dr. Benzel. "But there are significant disparities between adult and youth players that are not linear: neck strength and head anthropometry to name just two."
Adam J. Bartsch, PhD, PE, a biomechanical engineer and director of Cleveland Clinic's Head, Neck and Spine Research Laboratory, observed that similar logic has been applied to testing.
"In the past, most laboratory testing of sport-related head, neck and spine injuries was geared toward mature and/or elite athletes such as collegiate or NFL players. But these groups comprise a small percentage of the athlete population participating in collision sports such as football," said Dr. Bartsch. "We're interested in helping to advance the state of the science at all levels, from the 7-year-old to the professional athlete."
SOURCE Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation