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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Protective American Football Headgear on Peripheral Vision Reaction Time and Visual Target Detection in Division I NCAA Football Players

Department of Kinesiology, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Sports 2019, 7(9), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7090213
Received: 25 August 2019 / Revised: 10 September 2019 / Accepted: 11 September 2019 / Published: 16 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes)
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of protective football headgear on peripheral vision reaction time and visual target detection. Twenty-five Division I NCAA football players (age = 20.5 yrs ± 0.9, height = 185.9 cm ± 6.8, body mass = 99.2 kg ± 19.2, BMI = 29.6 ± 4.5) participated. In a crossover counterbalanced study design, subjects participated in one visit with three conditions: Baseline (BL) without headgear, helmet only (HO), helmet with an eye shield (HE). Subjects completed a 1-min peripheral vision reaction time test for each condition separated by 3-min recovery periods. Tests were administered using a 64 light Dynavision D2 Visuomotor board. Target detection (total hit score) was higher during BL than HO (p < 0.001) and HE (p < 0.001). Average (p < 0.001), peak (p < 0.001), minimum (p < 0.001), and median (p < 0.001) peripheral reaction times were faster during BL than HO and HE. No significant differences were observed for any measures between HO and HE conditions (p > 0.05). Findings indicate that protective football headgear impaired reaction time to peripheral visual stimuli. The addition of an eye shield to the helmet had a small non-significant effect on reaction time and target detection. These results may hold important implications in helmet design and player safety. View Full-Text
Keywords: college football; dynavision; football helmet; eye shield; visor; facemask college football; dynavision; football helmet; eye shield; visor; facemask
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Miller, R.A.; Rogers, R.R.; Williams, T.D.; Marshall, M.R.; Moody, J.R.; Hensarling, R.W.; Ballmann, C.G. Effects of Protective American Football Headgear on Peripheral Vision Reaction Time and Visual Target Detection in Division I NCAA Football Players. Sports 2019, 7, 213.

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