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Comparison of an In-Helmet Temperature Monitor System to Rectal Temperature During Exercise

Wickwire, P Jason; Buresh, Robert J; Tis, Laurie L; Collins, Mitchell A; Jacobs, Robert D; Bell, Marla M

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 1 - p 1-8
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31823b0a5a
Original Research

Wickwire, PJ, Buresh, RJ, Tis, LL, Collins, MA, Jacobs, RD, and Bell, MM. Comparison of an in-helmet temperature monitor system to rectal temperature during exercise. J Strength Cond Res 26(1): 1–8, 2012—Body temperature monitoring is crucial in helping to decrease the amount and severity of heat illnesses; however, a practical method of monitoring temperature is lacking. In response to the lack of a practical method of monitoring the temperature of athletes, Hothead Technologies developed a device (HOT), which continuously monitors an athlete's fluctuations in body temperature. HOT measures forehead temperature inside helmets. The purpose of this study was to compare HOT against rectal temperature (T rec). Male volunteers (n = 29, age = 23.5 ± 4.5 years, weight = 83.8 ± 10.4 kg, height = 180.1 ± 5.8 cm, body fat = 12.3 ± 4.5%) exercised on a treadmill at an intensity of 60–75% heart rate reserve (HRR) (wet bulb globe temperature [WBGT] = 28.7° C) until T rec reached 38.7° C. The correlation between T rec and HOT was 0.801 (R 2 = 0.64, standard error of the estimate (SEE) = 0.25, p = 0.00). One reason for this relatively high correlation is the microclimate that HOT is monitoring. HOT is not affected by the external climate greatly because of its location in the helmet. Therefore, factors such as evaporation do not alter HOT temperature to a great degree. HOT was compared with T rec in a controlled setting, and the exercise used in this study was moderate aerobic exercise, very unlike that used in football. In a controlled laboratory setting, the relationship between HOT and T rec showed favorable correlations. However, in applied settings, helmets are repeatedly removed and replaced forcing HOT to equilibrate to forehead temperature every time the helmet is replaced. Therefore, future studies are needed to mimic how HOT will be used in field situations.

1Exercise Physiology and Countermeasures Project, Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering, Houston, Texas; 2Department of Health, Physical Education, and Sport Science, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia; 3School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, University of Nebraska Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska; and 4Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia

Address correspondence to Dr. Jason Wickwire,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.