Date of Award
Master of Science
Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Richard T. Stone
Although football personal protective equipment (PPE) has developed considerably since the game's conception, knee pad design has lagged behind. Players at all levels of competition are dissatisfied with the device, claiming it impedes performance more than it protects from injury. To date, no published research has studied the football knee pad's effect on athletic performance, and no ergonomic evaluation of the design has been completed.
This research first created a new knee pad design based on survey feedback from 138 collegiate and high school football athletes. This new design, called the Vastus And Patella Protection with Range of motion (VAPPR) pad, was then tested for effectiveness. During testing, 10 collegiate athletes performed standardized football drills (Pro-Agility, L-Drill, Broad-Jump) under three padded conditions: unpadded, standard knee pad, VAPPR pad. Results were based on three padded comparisons. First, athletes performed at a higher level unpadded than wearing standard knee pads. Second, no difference in performance existed between testing unpadded and with VAPPR pads. Third, VAPPR pads resulted in superior performance, provided equal protection, and were preferred by athletes when compared to standard knee pads.
Brandon F. Moeller
Moeller, Brandon F., "Biomechanical impact of lower-body PPE on the football athlete: An evaluation and redesign of the knee pad" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13152.