Is current rugby headgear adequate?

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
8th Australasian Congress on Applied Mechanics, ACAM 2014, as Part of Engineers Australia Convention 2014, 2014, pp. 244 - 251
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The International Rugby Board (IRB) restricts the thickness of rugby headgear to no more than 10 mm (± 2 mm manufacturing tolerance) and the density to no more than 45 kg/m3 (± 15 kg/m3 manufacturing tolerance). This study presents data confirming these values are inadequate to protect the user (particularly the childhood user) from reasonably foreseeable impacts. The current IRB Regulations do not provide a great deal of flexibility for manufacturers to design a more effective headgear that would reduce the consequences of a head impact. A number of properties were measured including the maximum acceleration and head injury criteria of a headform fitted with the headgear. The two headgear that were commercially available and tested in this study had limited effectiveness to reduce the likelihood and/or consequences of a head related impact. It was concluded that the IRB should increase the maximum allowable headgear thickness to 20 ± 2 mm and also allow headgear manufacturers to optimise the performance by using composite foam with densities exceeding the current limit of 45 ± 15 kg/m3.
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