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The high incidence rate of concussions in football provides a unique opportunity to collect biomechanical data to characterize mild traumatic brain injury. The goal of this study was to validate a six degree of freedom (6DOF) measurement device with 12 single-axis accelerometers that uses a novel algorithm to compute linear and angular head accelerations for each axis of the head. The 6DOF device can be integrated into existing football helmets and is capable of wireless data transmission. A football helmet equipped with the 6DOF device was fitted to a Hybrid III head instrumented with a 9 accelerometer array. The helmet was impacted using a pneumatic linear impactor. Hybrid III head accelerations were compared with that of the 6DOF device. For all impacts, peak Hybrid III head accelerations ranged from 24 g to 176 g and 1,506 rad/s2 to 14,431 rad/s2. Average errors for peak linear and angular head acceleration were 1% ± 18% and 3% ± 24%, respectively. The average RMS error of the temporal response for each impact was 12.5 g and 907 rad/s2.

Steven Rowson (Corresponding Author) is with Virginia Tech–Wake Forest, Center for Injury Biomechanics, Blacksburg VA. Jonathan G. Beckwith, Jeffrey J. Chu, Daniel S. Leonard, and Richard M. Greenwald are with Simbex, Lebanon NH. Stefan Duma is with Virginia Tech–Wake Forest, Center for Injury Biomechanics, Blacksburg VA.

Note. Financial disclosure: Beckwith, Chu, Leonard, and Greenwald (employees or beneficial owner of Simbex) have financial interest in the HIT System technology used in this study.