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Safety performance evaluation of taekwondo headgear
  1. David M O'Sullivan1,
  2. Gabriel P Fife2,
  3. Willy Pieter3,
  4. Insik Shin4
  1. 1Department of Physical Education, Chung-Ang University, Anseong, Republic of Korea
  2. 2Department of Physical Education, Integrative Sport Sciences Laboratory, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  3. 3Department of Taekwondo, Keimyung University, Daegu, Republic of Korea
  4. 4Department of Physical Education, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Gabriel P Fife, Department of Physical Education, Integrative Sport Sciences Laboratory, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-Ro, Seodaemungu Shinchondong, Seoul, 120-749 Republic of Korea; fifeg.yonsei{at}


Background With over 20 years of taekwondo concussion research highlighting the high incidence of injury, previous studies recommend an investigation of headgear impact attenuation performance.

Objective To examine impact attenuation differences between the anterior, posterior and sides of selected taekwondo headgear brands.

Design Between-groups.

Setting Biomechanics laboratory.

Methods Five different commercially available taekwondo headgear were selected for impact testing. A 50th percentile Hybrid II Dummy Crash Test head and neck was fitted with the selected helmet and was bolted to a 25 kg steel torso-like structure. Each headgear model was impacted eight times to the anterior, posterior and sides by a 6.75 kg bowling ball at three heights to produce 52.25, 85 and 144 J strikes.

Main outcome measurements Resultant head linear acceleration.

Results Two-way (Helmet×Location) mixed analysis of variance with repeated measures on the second factor was performed to determine the differences between headgear by location of impact. There was a two-way (Helmet×Location) interaction for acceleration (η2=0.368).

Conclusions Taekwondo headgear manufacturers and sport governing bodies must consider improving the design of especially anterior helmet properties.

  • Martial Arts
  • Concussion
  • Head injuries
  • Biomechanics

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