Removal tools are faster and produce less force and torque on the helmet than cutting tools during face-mask retraction

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Journal of Athletic Training


Objective: To investigate the retraction time, forces, and torques applied to the football helmet during removal of the face mask with different face-mask removal tools. Design and Setting: Subjects retracted the face mask of a football helmet mounted to a force platform in a laboratory setting. They removed a standard face mask by cutting or removing (or both) the lateral plastic loop straps using 4 different tools: the Trainer's Angel (TA), FM Extractor (FM), power screwdriver (SD), and Quick Release System (QR) in a counterbalanced fashion. Subjects: Eighteen certified athletic trainers participated in this study. Measurements: We started measuring time when the subject picked up the tool and ended when the face mask was in a fully retracted position. Maximum forces and torques were measured from the force platform during the retraction process. Results: The SD and QR retracted the face mask significantly faster than the TA and FM. Forces producing superior-inferior translation were least with the SD. The SD and QR produced less lateral translation and rotation and lateral flexion moment than the TA and FM. The FM produced less torque in the lateral flexion moment than the TA. Conclusions: Tools that removed the loop straps (SD, QR) were faster and produced less force and torque on the helmet than the tools that cut through the loop straps (TA, FM).

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