Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Kristy B. Arbogast


It is estimated that millions of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) occur each year, and studies show that these injuries can have more long-term neurological consequences than previously thought. High impact sports provide a unique real-world opportunity to study the biomechanical inputs that lead to mTBI and helmet-based instrumentation can be used to estimate the kinematics of head impacts in sports. In Chapter 1, we evaluate two helmet-based measurement systems that use different approaches to estimate kinematics by impacting a helmeted anthropometric test device (ATD) in a laboratory setting. The relationships between the helmet sensor system and reference ATD measures are evaluated. In Chapter 3, we explore the effect of real-world impact and usage variations on the relationships between helmet system and ATD-measured head impact kinematics. The factors varied include the interface between the head and the helmet, repeatability of sensor/helmet systems, helmet geometry/construction, effective mass of the torso, and impacting surface. In Chapter 4 we assess the effect of helmet-based sensor performance on brain injury metrics calculated using finite element analysis. This is done by using helmet system and ATD data from the laboratory impacts as inputs into a finite element head model and comparing outcomes. Chapter 5 discusses the implications of the findings on the implementation of helmet-based systems in real-world scenarios.

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