Caroline Adams

19/05/17 International Society for Skiing Safety Congress (ISSS)

Funds were used to cover the costs of transportation, conferences fees and a portion of accommodation costs.

The ISSS is a multidisciplinary conference bringing together international experts in the fields of: medicine; engineering; sports science; and ski tourism, to enhance the safety of winter sports through scientific research. In April experts from all around the globe gathered at the sport science faculty at the University of Innsbruck. The main themes of the conference were epidemiology of winter sports injuries; ski racing; avalanches; health aspects of skiing; head injuries, knee injuries; equipment; biomechanics and ski bindings. Whilst the conference is multidisciplinary at least a third if not more of the presentations constituted sports engineering.

I presented a study I have completed during my PhD on the design of surrogates to mechanically test snowboarding wrist protectors. It was interesting to see the complementary approaches being taken by different research institutions and have the opportunity to receive feedback on my work. Positive discussions were had with other researchers both concerning mechanical testing and the potential to influence behavioural practice and track the impact of a prevention once an ISO standard has been established. Chloe Newton Mann who is supporting the wrist protection work through FEA simiulation also had the opportunity to present her early work and proposed approach.

The use of equipment as a means of injury prevention was discussed throughout the conference. A change in ski binding design has resulted in a drop in tibia fractures but the number of ACL injuries has increased. This highlighted the importance of taking into consideration the full chain of the human body when implementing changes. Another intervention discussed at length was despite the increase in helmet use across resorts up to 97% in some countries the rate of head injuries doesn’t reflect this change in behaviour. Given the prevalence of these injuries it appears that sports engineers in collaboration with resorts, clinicians and manufacturers have a responsibility to better understand the mechanism of injury and aid the design, development and testing of improved products. This could in time lead to changes in policy and a revision to the helmet standard. A number of innovative approaches are being taken to better understand these injury scenarios and develop representative tests.

Caroline Adams

International Standards Working Group Meeting
ISO/TC 94/SC 13/WG 11 – Body & hand protection for snowboarding : April 28-29 2016, Switzerland

Funds were used to cover the costs of transport and a portion of accomadtion. The remainder of the costs were covered by the British Standards Institute.

Injuries to the upper extremities are the most frequently reported injured body region in snowboarding and contribute to 35-45% of all snowboarding injuries. Wrist protectors have been shown to reduce injury risk, yet there is no minimum performance standard these products should conform to. This can leave consumers confused and mislead about their safety. The International Standards Organisation has established a working group with the aim of developing a new standard – ISO/TC 94/SC 13/WG 11- Body & hand protection for snowboarding. As my PhD project is focused on the testing and design of wrist protectors I have become the nominated UK expert on this committee. This means I participate in technical working group meetings 2-3 times per year and provide the committee with advice based on the body of work completed during my PhD.

This particular meeting was held at the BFU headquarters (Swiss Council for Accident Prevention) in Bern Switzerland. The meeting started with discussions around the time frame of the project and key dates in the ISO & CEN process were outlined by Ruth Schnieder – Secretariat SNV Swiss Association for Standardization. The draft standard should be completed by September. This will then be circulated to all relevant national bodies for review (typically over a period of 6 months). If the review is successful the process for implementing an ISO standard will commence if not then it will be transformed into a European Standard. The next meeting to finalise the draft will be held in August 2016 at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) hosted by Tom Allen & Caroline Adams. As the EU PPE directive will be held in Leeds March 20-24th 2017 and both Peter Gyger and Ruth Schnieder will be there anyway it was agreed informally that there will likely be a follow up meeting during that week.

I presented an overview of the work I’ve completed within my PhD titled “Development of a new method to characterise snowboard wrist protectors”. This includes a critique of EN 14120 inline skating protectors, which has been identified as the starting point for the new standard. Key weaknesses include: (1) inappropriate test setup which can’t be conducted based on the schematic; (2) poorly designed prosthesis/surrogate shape; (3) threshold values not based on published injury mechanism data; (4) ambiguous test protocol with no consideration given for strapping tightness. During a study (to be presented at ISEA conference July 2016) we have demonstrated that strapping tightness affects whether products pass or fail. Given that products will be tested by different operators globally it’s important this is addressed to ensure repeatability.

Given that gloves with integrated protection are on the market there is the need for a new surrogate with fingers and a method which the load can be applied at a set distance. At Sheffield Hallam we are currently developing a new surrogate design based on geometry obtained using 3d body scanning technology. As standard needs to include 2D schematic and associated dimensions for a range of sizes this couldn’t be used directly, but could help in advancing the shape of the surrogate. In addition to this we are developing a clamping mechanism which can be mounted externally onto the surrogate wearing the glove at a fixed distance so a bending moment can be applied without cutting the glove. Future work will include the development of a dynamic impact test and FEA work performed by Chloe Mann (MMU PhD student). Which we hope can support a later revision of this standard further down the line.

The remainder of the two days were spent going through the latest version of the standard and addressing comments and concerns from members of the committee on the themes of:
• Impact performance requirements and testing
• Stiffness performance requirements and testing
• Splint dimensions
• Conditioning samples

Next Steps: Prior to the next meeting in Manchester Bfu & SNV will update the standard to reflect corrections and discussion during the meeting. This will then be circulated to the rest of the ISO committee. Bfu will coordinate the design of new surrogate including dimensions and cad drawings (potentially delegating this to Sheffield Hallam but yet to be confirmed). I will test a wider range of products providing plots for angle vs torque for the current state of the market. Based on this at the next meeting we can collectively make an informed decision on performance parameters for the bending tests.