Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Anne M. Haskins


Brain Injuries -- prevention & control; Head Protective Devices


Soldiers within the Veteran's Administration who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) were the focus of this project. Reports showed a growing number of soldiers have returned from Iraq with head injuries, including cranial and brain defects (Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, 2007). Symptoms individuals with TBI commonly exhibit include dizziness, balance problems, sleep problems, excessive fatigue, headaches, and difficulties with cognitive processes. Other symptoms associated with a TBI are blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and bad tastes in the mouth (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2007). The purpose of this project was to develop a cranial helmet that would be custom-fit to the individual who has sustained a TBI to protect his or her cranium during the healing process to prevent a secondary TBl or additional complications.

A literature review was conducted using PubMed, CINAHL, and electronic organizational resources to identify existing occupational therapy resources pertaining to the fabrication process of custom-made helmets. Information was also obtained from textbooks, seminars, and library searches. Limited resources existed for the use of custom-made helmets in the area of adult TBI. Instead, we used research literature regarding the fabrication of helmets for children with cranial defects to guide the development of our project.

The helmet was designed incorporating the client's values and interests. A mold of the individuals head was created with plaster around which we formed materials in Custom-made Helmet for Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury subsequent steps. The helmet was comprised of insulated foam used for protection and comfort. Thermoplastic splinting material was then formed on top of the foam to create the shell of the helmet. The helmet had four quadrants for air circulation to allow cool air along the head. A chin strap was added to support the helmet in place. An accompanying manual was also designed to guide the fabrication of the helmet.

For the purpose of the scholarly project, time and financial aspects, this fabricated prototype is the first step in the development of the helmet. The final product will need extensive testing from competent engineers to ensure the safety of the clients using the helmet.