Title page for ETD etd-04262010-081912


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Shain, Kellen Saul
Author's Email Address kshain@vt.edu
URN etd-04262010-081912
Title An Analysis of Catcher's Mask Performance to Attenuate Head Accelerations
Degree Master of Science
Department Biomedical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Madigan, Michael L. Committee Chair
Duma, Stefan M. Committee Member
Goforth, Michael W. Committee Member
Keywords
  • catcher's mask
  • head acceleration
  • baseball impacts
  • concussions
Date of Defense 2010-04-21
Availability restricted
Abstract
The goals of this study were to measure the ability of catcher’s masks to attenuate head accelerations upon impact with a baseball, and to compare these head accelerations to established injury thresholds for concussions. Testing involved using a pneumatic cannon to shoot baseballs at an instrumented (3-2-2-2 accelerometer array) Hybrid III headform (a 50th percentile male head and neck) with and without a catcher’s mask on the head. The ball speed was controlled from approximately 26.8 – 35.8 m/s (60 – 80 mph) and regulation NCAA baseballs were used.

Peak linear resultant acceleration was 140 – 180 g without a mask and 16 – 30 g with a mask over the range of balls speeds investigated. Peak angular resultant acceleration was 19500 – 25700 rad/sec2 without a mask and 2250 – 3230 rad/sec2 with a mask. The Head Injury Criterion was 93 – 181 without a mask and 3 – 13 with a mask and the Severity index was 110 – 210 without a mask and 3 – 15 with a mask. Catcher’s masks reduced head acceleration metrics by approximately 85% when baseballs were impacted with just the headform. Head accelerations with a catcher’s mask were substantially lower than contemporary injury thresholds, yet evidence indicates that baseball impacts to the mask still result in concussions.

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