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    Study aims to prevent deadly sports injury in young athletes

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    At a baseball stadium in Arizona 10 years ago, a 13-year-old baseball player bunted the ball and hit his chest instead. Taking two steps towards first baseman, he collapsed and died of commotiocordis, the second leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

    It’s the result of Grant Dicky’s PhD. Biomedical engineering students want change. Dicky recently announced his findings from his master’s study to provide new metrics for testing baseball chest protectors and identify the location of the most vulnerable impacts on the chest.

    Rare but deadly

    “Commotiocordis is very rare, but if it happens, it’s very often fatal,” Dicky said. “I can imagine the impact on players and families in this situation. It’s incredibly tragic.”

    This phenomenon results from a small dull object that collides with the chest at a speed of about 40 mph during a fragile period of the cardiac cycle called the T wave.The heart Ventricular fibrillation and tremors can lead to the inability to pump blood to the entire body and brain.

    Immediate use of an external automatic external defibrillator (AED) can shock the heart and restore rhythm. Without such intervention, an injured child could die.

    The US commotiocordis registry of Minneapolis has confirmed more than 200 cases worldwide since 1996. Less than 20% of affected patients survived. However, due to underreporting and misclassification, the actual number of deaths is unknown.

    According to Dicky, this rare sudden death mechanism most commonly affects infants playing baseball, but current baseball chest protectors cannot prevent Comotiocodis.

    “Children are more vulnerable to these because their chest cages are much weaker and narrower. Impact Beyond the heart, “he said.

    Dicky, who has loved sports since childhood, knows that the best defenses protect vulnerable areas.

    Under the supervision of a Canadian research chair and Western engineering professor Haojie Mao, Dicky’s master’s research aims to develop a new Comotiocodis injury metric to more accurately predict the effectiveness of chest protectors. I did. His work also analyzed current injury metrics used by the National Steering Committee (NOCSAE) on exercise equipment standards. He then identified a potentially vulnerable impact location that is currently being ignored by safety regulations and commercial chest protectors.

    A previous commotiocordis study used pig hearts and analyzed heart pressure to investigate the effects of baseball. The Dickies team took a novel approach through computational modeling.

    Their first study aimed to elucidate the relationship between chest force and rib deformity. Left ventricle Strain pressure.

    “We believed that we had a unique opportunity to address the gaps in the literature and introduce new and important concepts,” Dicky said. “One was analyzing left ventricular strain that had not been previously studied. The other was the introduction of rib deformity injuries that we considered beneficial based on our studies and results. It was a measurement standard. “

    His team used a computational model that represented the anatomical and biomechanical characteristics of a 10-year-old human and replicated the commotiocordis instance by simulating 128 different baseball impacts on the chest. They adapted speed and varying degrees of baseball hardness.

    “The ribs rest on the chest as a protective case for internal organs,” Dicky said. “Our study found that ribs 3, 4, and 5 overlap directly with the heart, especially the left ventricle.”

    How to study rib Dicky, who was deformed in connection with left ventricular strain and increased left ventricular pressure, found that the greater the deformation, the greater the increase in strain and pressure values.

    Although it was previously suggested that softer baseball could prevent Comotiocordis, Dickies findings show that baseball hardness does not make a difference in left ventricular strain or pressure. rice field.

    Location of vulnerable impact

    In Dickies’ second study, we created a heat map on the chest to identify the most vulnerable locations.

    “We found that the valvular apex on the outside of the heart silhouette had a slight impact on and to the side of the heart, resulting in a very high left ventricular strain,” Dicky said. “When baseball hit the chest just above the heart, the thorax pushed the left ventricle of the heart, causing a high strain value.”

    Current chest protectors offer a common pad throughout. Dicky believes there is an opportunity to increase padding over the silhouette of the heart to prevent damage to potentially vulnerable areas.

    His master’s thesis included a preliminary study of a circular pad design that allowed the team to analyze their ability to relieve tension and pressure in the left ventricle of the heart.

    Next step

    Dicky wants to get the job done while earning a PhD. In biomedical engineering. He conducts future simulations to study the effects of hockey pucks and lacrosse balls, aiming to move his work beyond simulation tests to human heart tissue.

    His group also wants to approach the exercise chest equipment manufacturer as a potential collaborator. “This will be a great opportunity not only for our lab, but also for companies that just want to improve their products and safety,” Dicky said.

    Mao praises Dickies’ innovative work as the first researcher to study the biomechanics of Comotiocodis using computational modeling.

    “Grant’s research to understand Comotio Cordis is relevant to all children who play sports such as: baseball“Mao said. “Although he still holds a PhD. In the program, Grant could be justified among the very few of the world’s top experts who understand the issue of Comotiocordis.”

    The mechanism behind sudden cardiac death in sports is revealed

    For more information:
    Grant J. Dickey et al, Identifying Vulnerable Impact Locations to Reduce the Occurrence of Deadly Commotio Cordis Events in Children’s Baseball: Computational Approach, Journal of Biomechanical Engineering (2021). DOI: 10.1115 / 1.4052886

    Grant J. Dickey et al, Develop Commotiocordis Injury Metrics for Baseball Safety: Elucidating the Relationship between Chest Force and Rib Deformation to Left Ventricular Strain and Pressure, Computer techniques in biomechanics and biomedical engineering (2021). DOI: 10.1080 / 10255842.2021.1948022

    Quote: The survey was taken from on January 12, 2022 (January 12, 2022). Aims to prevent fatal sports injuries

    This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair transactions for personal investigation or research purposes. Content is provided for informational purposes only.

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