Face-mask removal: Movement and time associated with cutting of the loop straps


Objective: To quantify the amount of helmet movement, time for task completion, tool satisfaction, and overall efficiency for various face-mask removal tools during football helmet face-mask removal. Design and Setting: Each subject performed one trial with the anvil pruner (AP), Face Mask Extractor (FME), PVC pipe cutter (PVC), and Trainer's Angel (TA). Each subject cut through 4 loop straps and removed the face mask while kneeling behind the athlete's head. Subjects: Twenty-nine certified athletic trainers (age 29.5 +/- 6.2 years, athletic training experience = 6.3 +/- 5.0 years). Measurements: Time to complete the task was recorded. Total range of motion and total movement of the helmet were assessed using a 6-camera, 3-dimensional motion-capture system. Satisfaction scores were measured for each subject for each tool. Efficiency scores were calculated using time and total helmet-movement data. Results: When using the FME, subjects were significantly faster than with all other tools (P <.05), and when using the AP and TA, they were significantly faster than with the PVC. No differences were noted between tools in either movement variable. Significant differences were noted for satisfaction (P <.05) for all comparisons except TA versus AP. Efficiency scores were FME, 11.6; AP, 14.3; TA, 14.5; and PVC, 22.9, with lower scores identifying increased efficiency. Conclusions: In general, subjects using the FME were superior in all variables except the movement variables. Future researchers should assess the removal task using specific protocols to determine whether the tools truly differ in terms of the movement created.



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Journal Title

Journal of Athletic Training


National Athletic Trainers Association

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