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UVA Researcher Helps Assess Thigh Pads for NFL Players - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Researcher Helps Assess Thigh Pads for NFL Players

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A UVA researcher helped determine which thigh pads best protect NFL players. A UVA researcher helped determine which thigh pads best protect NFL players.

A University of Virginia biomechanical researcher may play a big part on the field during the NFL season, but you might miss it.

Richard Kent helped determine which thigh pads work and which ones do not - an important differentiation because the league has required players to wear them this season.

Kent and his colleagues from the biomechanics center tested more than 80 kinds of pads, and the NFL approved 37 of them.

"Perhaps most interesting is that the contusion risk was actually higher with some of the things that players were using as pads. So a hard plastic shell with no padding on it, for example, actually causes more pressure, especially if you hit it on the edge, than having nothing on your thigh. So we were able to identify those and come up with a recommendation that was at the threshold of a contusion," Kent said.

Kent has also worked with the NFL on multiple research projects designed to improve player safety from shoes and turf toe injuries.

His next project will be looking for ways to help eliminate high ankle sprains.

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