The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) awarded $1.1 million in research grants to advance the science of sports medicine – specifically related to concussion. NOCSAE approved several grants recommended by the organization's Scientific Advisory Committee, which was created to direct research efforts specifically related to concussion. NOCSAE is an independent and nonprofit standard-setting body with the sole mission to enhance athletic safety through scientific research and the creation of performance standards for protective equipment.
"Investment in research, like the grants recommended by Scientific Advisory Committee, provides the foundation for our work to protect athletes on the field of play. This research will be extremely important to help inform potential changes to the football helmet standard," said Mike Oliver, NOCSAE executive director. "It is our mission to continue to drive the science of sports medicine so youth and adults who choose to play sports can know their equipment is certified to standards based on the best available information."
As the primary source for research funding in all sports medicine and science related areas and the leading nongovernmental funding source for sports concussion-related research, NOCSAE has dedicated more than $4 million since 1995 in concussion-related research involving some of the nation's leading academic and research institutions. During the summer board meeting, NOCSAE approved the following projects:
- Development of a centric and non-centric American football helmet assessment protocol, Blaine Hoshizaki, Director, Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory (NiSL), University of Ottawa
- Investigation of impact scenarios resulting in high rotational accelerations with a minimal linear acceleration component that lead to diffuse brain injury, David Halstead, Southern Impact Research Center, University of Tennessee
- Advancing the understanding of biomechanical parameters associated with mild traumatic brain injury; An evaluation of the relationships among head acceleration, brain tissue, mechanical response and diffusion imaging, Richard Greenwald, PhD, Simbex, Lebanon, NH
"The Scientific Advisory Committee is directing and conducting goal-specific research intended to provide answers to questions science has not yet determined. Despite a significant investment in concussion-related research to date, scientists have not determined what helmet performance threshold can be adopted that will result in increased concussion prevention. Our goal is to incorporate scientific findings into our standards to better protect against concussions," said Dr. Robert Cantu, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee, NOCSAE vice president and one of the nation's top sports concussion specialists.
NOCSAE also approved funding for a fourth grant previously approved during the January meeting. The study, to be conducted by R. Dawn Comstock, PhD, Assistant Professor Center for Injury Research and Policy, is entitled, "Can Anthropometric Measurements Explain Gender Differences in Concussion Rates Among High School Basketball, Soccer and Lacrosse Players?"