Awarded in 2013
Home Department: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: David Camarillo (Bioengineering) and Gerald Grant (Neurosurgery)
Research Title: The biomechanics of mild traumatic brain injury: measurement, modeling, and prevention
Research Description: Brain injury is a major health concern, affecting many through vehicular collisions, falls, and sports. Although modern helmets reduce the risk of severe brain injury and skull fracture, incidence of mild brain injury and concussion has skyrocketed. Studies have connected mild head impacts, even those without immediate symptoms of injury, to long-term neurodegeneration. Fidel is evaluating and developing models that assess a helmet’s ability to reduce mild brain injury. His studies found that the 30-year-old football helmet testing standard does not model a player's typical head rotation, the suspected injury mechanism. Fidel plans to develop a new computational model validated with field data and high-speed video.