North Carolina A&T State University

NSF Engineering Research Center + Bioengineering Joint Seminar Series
Team Research – Head Impact Measurements in Youth Football
Dr. Joel Stitzel
Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, NC
Associate Head – Va Tech–WFU School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences
11 AM – 11:50 AM – Friday, September 13, 2013
McNair Hall Auditorium – College of Engineering
Collaborations between engineers and physicians provide the opportunity for some of the most interesting and valuable team science.  Sports-related concussion is the most common athletic head injury with football having the highest concussion rate compared to other contact sports.  Traditionally, research on the biomechanics of football-related head impact has been focused at the collegiate level.  Much less research has been performed in the high school and youth populations, despite the unknown exposure of the youth population with developing brains.  The objective of this study is to understand the head impact exposure of youth and high school football, specifically ages 6 to 18.  Head impact exposure was measured by instrumenting the helmets of high school and youth football players with a head acceleration measurement device during practices and games.   The wirelessly transmitted data is processed to compute kinematics including linear and rotational acceleration, which can be analyzed a multitude of ways. Results of this study show that although values for the youth population are less severe and less frequent than the older counterparts, youth football players are experiencing high acceleration impacts comparable to the concussive impacts measured in adults.  These data contribute to the effort to better understand the mechanisms of injury and head impact exposure of athletes in football.  Attention will be given to this and other collaborations of engineers and physicians at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Joel D. Stitzel, Ph. D. is Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Wake Forest University and Associate Head of the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.  He is the Program Leader of the VT-WFU Center for Injury Biomechanics and Director of the Wake Forest Campus of the Center.  He has worked in Injury Biomechanics for 12 years.  He received a BS in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Tech, an MS in Biomedical Engineering from the Medical College of Virginia, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.  His dissertation work involved modeling of the human rib cage and thorax.  He is the engineering Co-PI of Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) center.  He is the Co-PI of the Global Human Body Models Consortium Integration Center, an organizing center in a global endeavor to create the industry-standard finite element model of the human body for trauma prediction.  He has current projects in human injury research for NHTSA involving anthropometry and computational modeling.  His team is developing automatic crash notification algorithms utilizing discharge databases and crash databases.  Lastly, he and a team of collaborators have instrumented youth football teams and included medical imaging in a study to better understand concussions. His interests include child and elderly biomechanics, finite element modeling of the human body, soft tissue biomechanics and the relationship between computational model-based metrics and criteria and real-world injuries.  His future goals include enhancing the trauma research interface between clinicians and engineers, and improving human safety.  His efforts focus on the prediction, mitigation, and prevention of trauma in a variety of scenarios including automotive, sports, and military applications.