Improved Helmets: Case Study: Phillip Hughes

It appears that Cricket Australia might release the findings of a safety review into the death of Phillip Hughes. This could be an interesting report to read when it comes out, in that it hints at what parts of the head are particularly vulnerable to hits from hard objects.

If you consider a cricket helmet for a moment, and contrast that to the coverage area of a bicycle helmet. Both are designed with the assumption of a collision with an object coming from in front, and so the back of the neck was not an area given much thought.

Motorcycle helmets do a lot better here in almost all cases except the “half helmets”: tick-a-box helmets if ever I saw one! More recent designs come down much lower on the head. Interestingly, professional cricket did originally start with motorcycle helmets, but found them too heavy.

Within the construction of even a motorcycle helmet however, it’s interesting to note where the foam exists: and it’s thickest around the top of the head. The sides where one’s ears would be, the foam gets thinner. Possibly a compromise for acoustic reasons, but is it significant?

Bicycle helmets however, with the exception of MTB type ones, don’t seem to cover this very well from what I’ve seen. Perhaps the back and sides needs a bit more attention. I guess I’ll have to have a gander at the report when it is released.