Further Development of a Protective Helmet for Persons with Disabilities

G. BELBIN, C.O.(c), R. MORAN, D.D.S., F.R.C.D., S. NAUMANN, Ph.D., P.Eng., S. RYAN, B.E.Sc., P.Eng., AND M. SLACK, B.Sc.(H.K.), C.O.(c)

At the Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation Centre's Protective Headwear Clinic, many children and young adults are assessed for the provision of a protective helmet. Most of these patients suffer from neuromuscular and or seizure disorders which causes the individual to fall which results in serious facial and dental trauma. Traditionally, these patients have been fitted with custom fabricated helmets. This type of orthosis is very labour intensive to fabricate and fit and as a result, expensive to the patient.

Over the past two years the Rehabilitation Dept., Orthotics Services Dept. and the Dental Dept. have worked together to produce a "Modular Design Custom Fitted Helmet." The Modular Helmet developed consists of three parts: an anterior section, posterior section and a chin protector. Each component has a high density polyethylene outer shell and a medium density inner liner. To ensure a positive fit the three parts were designed to be adjusted on the patient's head, located and secured in place. Two sizes were developed to fit children and young adults ranging in ages 5-19 years.

To evaluate the performance of the helmet biomechanical testing and patient trials took place. The results indicated that the Modular Design Custom Fitted Helmet can offer the same degree of protection as the custom-fabricated design, yet be dispensed through a Headwear Clinic in about two to three hours for less than 50% of the cost.

Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation Centre, 350 Rumsey Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4G 1R8