Survey Reveals Gaps in Americans and Germans Understanding of Concussion Causes and possible Risk Reduction

About 70 percent of American and German helmet buyers are unaware of rotational motion, a key contributor to traumatic brain injuries

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — MAY 23, 2022 — A new survey suggests a large disconnect in Americans’ and Germans’ education around concussions and how to reduce the risk of them using helmets.

Among the most significant findings of the survey is that about 70 percent of both American and German helmet buyers are unaware of the term rotational motion. Lack of understanding of rotational motion, a key contributor to TBIs, appears to correlate with Americans’ and Germans’ helmet purchasing decisions; 7 out of 10 American helmet buyers and 6 out of 10 German helmet buyers did not consider at all how well the helmet could protect against rotational motion when buying a helmet.

Rotational motion is a common cause for concussions and more severe brain injuries in oblique hits to the head. In most instances when you fall while moving and hit your head, you don’t hit your head in a straight 90-degree angle towards the surface. Instead, you often fall and hit your head at an angle, similar to how a tennis ball makes contact with the ground after being hit with a racket. When your head hits something at an angle, it typically exposes your head to rotational motion, which studies have shown can be more dangerous than linear motion.

Pioneer studies from the mid-20th century have shown that rotational motion is a key component in some traumatic brain injuries such as concussions and diffuse axonal injury4,5,6. The rotational motion causes shearing of the brain tissue, which can cause traumatic brain injuries. After these pioneering studies, more recent studies have supported the prevalence of rotational motion in diffuse traumatic brain injuries7,8,9,10. Despite this evidence, today there are only two helmet testing standards that account for rotational motion (FIM and ECE22.06), both of which pertain only to motorcycle helmets in the EU.     

The survey, which was conducted by Nielsen, a consumer survey company, and commissioned by Mips, a helmet safety technology company, polled a representative sample of 1,000 Americans and 1,000 Germans, split evenly between male and female, ranging 18-65 years old. All survey subjects have either bought a helmet in the past three years or plan to buy a helmet in the next six months for any of the following applications: cycling, rock climbing, horse riding, motorcycling, skiing, snowboarding, team sports, or safety equipment. 

“Around the world, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are often poorly understood,” says Peter Halldin, Co-Founder of Mips. “Improving safety and helping increase education around TBIs – there is nothing more important to us than that. Think of a parent for example, when buying a helmet for their child, or you buying a helmet for yourself or a loved one. If people aren’t equipped with relevant information, how can they make informed decisions?”

Scientific Sources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics: Mortality Data on CDC WONDER. Accessed 2022. [LINK]
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Concussions and Brain Injuries in Children: United States, 2020. Accessed 2022. [LINK] 
  3. University of Michigan Health, Neurosciences – Concussion in Athletes. Accessed 2022. [LINK] 
  4. Holbourn, A. H. S. (1943). Mechanics of Head Injuries. The Lancet, 9, 438–441.
  5. Ommaya, A. K., Yarnell, P., Hirsch, A. E., & Harris, E. H. (1967). Scaling of Experimental Data on Cerebral Concussion in Sub-Human Primates to Concussion Threshold for Man. 11th Stapp Car Crash Conference, 47-52.
  6. Margulies, S. S., & Thibault, L. E. (1992). A Proposed Tolerance Criterion for Diffuse Axonal Injury in Man. Journal of Biomechanics, 25(8), 917–923.
  7. Browne, K. D., Chen, X. H., Meaney, D. F., & Smith, D. H. (2011). Mild traumatic brain injury and diffuse axonal injury in swine. Journal of Neurotrauma, 28(9), 1747–1755. 
  8. Gennarelli, T. A., Thibault, L. E., & Ommaya, A. K. (1972). Pathophysiologic Responses to Rotational and Translational Acclerations of the Head. 16th Stapp Car Crash Conference, 296–308.
  9. Kleiven, S. (2007). Predictors for Traumatic Brain Injuries Evaluated through Accident Reconstructions. Stapp Car Crash Journal, 51, 81–114.
  10. Kleiven, S. (2013). Why Most Traumatic Brain Injuries are Not Caused by Linear Acceleration but Skull Fractures Are. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 1, 1–5. 

About Mips
Mips specializes in helmet-based safety and is a market leader in this field. The Mips® safety system is based on an “ingredient brand” model and is sold to the helmet industry worldwide. The Mips® safety system is patent protected and based on 25 years of research, testing and development in cooperation with the Royal Institute of Technology and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. The company’s headquarters are also located here, with more than 60 employees working in research and development, sales, marketing and administration, and the test center.

Currently, Mips works with 143 helmet manufacturers, the safety system is used in 833 models and was integrated into 12.6 million helmets worldwide in 2021 alone. For more information, visit

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