For prospective PhD students
PhD project in Mechanical Engineering
The development of rugby helmets to reduce concussions in child rugby
Concussion is the most common injury suffered at the top level rugby, with statistics on some countries (eg: the UK) showing that one in five premiership matches results in a concussion. Studies also show a clear link between repeated concussion and early-onset dementia, depression and other neurological diseases. Research also shows children to be more at risk than adults. This project aims to reduce concussions in rugby.
In both 2018 and 2019 a final year engineering team at UC designed and built a test rig for assessing linear and rotational forces on a headform. Then with this rig they were able to measure the protective potential of existing headgear to linear impacts. In the near future this will be extended to the protective potential for rotational acceleration impacts.
2018 FYP Poster: 2018 Impact-Protective Headgear for Contact Sports
2019 FYP Poster: 2019 Prototype Rugby Headgear
These two projects have been part of a larger collaborative program being undertaken with Sports and health Sciences at UC, as well as with international investigators. This umbrella program is working towards fitting out a whole child rugby team in 2020, with trial helmets and instrumented mouth guards, both to mitigate and to measure potentially concussive impacts during play. Any significant impacts will be assessed after play for any subsequent neurological effects.
This program aims to more fully understand concussive events in child rugby, and work towards potential solutions. Consequently the aim of this PhD project is to:
- Share in the research of the umbrella project
- Gather data that will support the design of impact-mitigating helmets for children playing rugby
- Build and test impact-mitigating rugby helmets for children