Translating Research to Serve

Virginia Tech’s motto is Ut Prosim, which is Latin for “that I may serve.”
The Helmet Lab takes great pride in making its research accessible and useful to the public in efforts to reduce the incidence of injury.

Prior to the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings, there was no information available to consumers on the relative performance of helmets even though large differences in protection existed between helmets. The Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings evaluate the ability of helmets to reduce concussion risk and then disseminates the results to the public so that consumers can make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. This work has resulted in a paradigm shift in the way consumers purchase helmets, as well as how helmets are designed.

While studying head impacts in youth football, we noticed that the hardest hits were always in practice. Even more specifically, they were associated with a specific head-on tackling drill. The sensor data confirmed these observations and we made recommendations about youth football practice structure to reduce exposure to high risk impacts. Subsequently, Pop Warner Football instituted new rules limiting tackling in youth football and stopped doing the drill with the highest risk.  The following year, we observed nearly a 50% reduction in head impacts for youth football teams that adopted these new rules.