Comparison of the Performance of Two Chest Protector Types when Impacted with a Baseball Bat

I. El Maach, C. Kessler, J.P. Dionne, and A. Makris (Canada)


Chest protector, chest deflection, Crowd Management Intervention, Blunt Impact


Most studies reported in the literature on the performance of chest protectors in preventing blunt impact trauma deal with sport-related chest protectors and impacts generated by projectiles such as baseballs. In other fields, such as Crowd Management Intervention (CMI), chest protectors are used to parry not only impacts originating from projectiles but also blows of hand-held weapons such as batons and baseball bats. No assessment of chest protection when impacted by hand-held weapons was reported in the literature. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the performance of two commercially available chest protectors typically used in CMI, using a realistic threat simulator of the baseball bat and a surrogate torso. The chest protectors assessed here are closed-cell foam protectors, one with a hard frontal plastic shell and the other without. Results revealed that the protector with a hard plastic shell reduced peak deflection of the chest by 36% compared to the unprotected case, whereas the protector with only closed-cell foam gave an 8% reduction. The corresponding attenuations for maximum velocity of chest deflection were 39% and 27%. It was concluded that either protector would prevent serious chest injuries.

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