Football equipment design affects face mask removal efficiency


Background: Researchers have investigated the performance of face mask removal tools for spine injury management in football but not the effects of football equipment design. Hypotheses: Various styles or designs of football helmet equipment (helmets, face masks, loop straps) affect face mask removal efficiency. A cordless screwdriver performs more efficiently than do cutting tools. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Nineteen certified athletic trainers were randomly assigned to group 1 (cordless screwdriver and the FM Extractor) or group 2 (cordless screwdriver and the Trainer's Angel). Subjects randomly performed face mask removal for 6 conditions composed of helmet (3), face mask (3), and loop strap (5) combinations. Time, head movement, perceived difficulty, and success rates were measured. Results: Multiple significant differences were found in time, movement, and perceived difficulty between the 6 helmet equipment conditions. The Shockblocker loop strap was consistently superior in all variables regardless of the tool used or the helmet it was attached to. The cordless screwdriver created less movement (mean range from any one plane, 2.8 degrees-13.3 degrees), was faster (mean range, 42.1-68.8 seconds), and was less difficult (mean rating of perceived exertion range, 1.4-2.9) compared to cutting tools (ranges, 4.4 degrees-18.4 degrees in any one plane, 71-174 seconds, rating of perceived exertion, 2.8-7.7). Trial failure was more common with cutting tools than with the screwdriver. Conclusion: Differences in football helmet equipment affect face mask removal. The cordless screwdriver is more efficient than the FM Extractor and Trainer's Angel. Clinical Relevance: Professionals responsible for the care of football athletes must be knowledgeable in the types of equipment used and the best option available for effective airway access.



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American Journal of Sports Medicine


American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

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© 2005 American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine