The Helmet Lab specializes in injury biomechanics, with particular emphasis on investigating human tolerance to impact loading. Rather than studying how to treat injury, we explore ways to prevent injury. This research involves identifying and characterizing injury mechanisms, quantifying the biomechanical response to impact, determining tolerance levels, and evaluating protective design. We study injuries to the whole body but primarily focus on advancing the understanding of concussion and how to decrease the incidence of injury. Applications of our research include sports, automobiles, and military injury prevention.

Studying concussions is challenging because it is impossible to produce human brain injury in a laboratory environment. To work around these challenges, we instrument populations (athletes) at elevated risk of sustaining a concussion. This approach allows us to collect biomechanical data characterizing concussion in an observational manner. We aim to quantify concussion mechanisms and how they vary with age, sex, and environment through this work. The translational outcomes of our research have led to improved helmet design and new rules in football.