The Effect of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, Polyurethane, and Polyethylene Foam Headgear on the Outcome of a Concussion

The purpose of this experiment was to determine if headgear would provide a difference in protection when a soccer player gets hit in the head. Also if the headgear does make a difference, what type of foam would be best used in protecting the head? It was hypothesized that the Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, EVA, foam would reduce the most amount of force to the head when impacted. This research was designed to help soccer players become safer, reduce trauma to the head, and reduce the risk of a concussion occurring.

The experiment was set up by connecting a LabQuest to a hanging force plate. A soccer JUG, a soccer ball launching mechanism, was used to launch a soccer ball at the force plate to gather the maximum force. In this situation, the force plate represents the head and neck and the ball being launched is similar to the force of what could be kicked in a real life game. Then the three different types of foams were placed over the force plate to simulate how the headgear would protect the head. The types of foam that were tested were EVA foam, polyurethane foam, and polyethylene foam.

An ANOVA test was first conducted to test if the foam would make a different on the maximum force on the plate. Once this was confirmed, five two sample t-tests were conducted to see if there was a significant difference in the three different types of foams that would be used in headgear. With the two types of statistical tests conducted, it was concluded that the hypothesis, that foam would make a difference and that the EVA foam would reduce the most amount of force, was accepted.

Research Conducted By:

KathyJo Buiteweg
Cousino High School

Alexandra Costanzo
Lake Shore High School