Student Makes Impact With Study

Seventh grader Davis Warmuth, 12, enjoys watching football but he said it seems like someone has to be carried off the field every game because of a concussion.

His research into concussions and how to prevent them placed him as a semi-finalist in the 2013 Broadcom Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars competition. He is one of 300 semi-finalists from across the nation and the only one from West Virginia.

Warmuth is the son of Richard and Debra Warmuth of Wheeling.Working together with his family, he built a swinging contraption to test how different materials used in athletic helmets react to impact. He tested sports impact gels, different kinds of foam and air pads. Surprisingly he said the best results came from using egg crate foam which has just the right amount of cushion and firmness.

“I was really surprised,” Warmuth said. “The materials being used in helmets aren’t the best ones. Even the stuff in your own home can work better than the components used in sports.”

As he performed impact tests, Warmuth said he also tried combinations of different materials and said the use of air foam with egg crate foam yielded some of the best results.

Warmuth attends St. Vincent de Paul Parish School in Elm Grove where he initially entered his project into the school-level science fair. After that he moved on to the diocesan science fair for the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and the regional science fair at West Liberty University.

Warmuth then participated in the Broadcom MASTERS Competition. In order to enter, Warmuth said he had to fill out a form describing his project, what difference it makes, what conclusions he came to in his research, what theories he tested and how.

St. Vincent de Paul Parish School Principal Rebecca Beabout said Warmuth will learn this week whether he placed as a finalist in the Broadcom MASTERS Competition. If he is a finalist ,Warmuth would compete in a national science fair in Washington, D.C., meet state representatives and have a chance to win $25,000.

So far Warmuth’s research into concussions and impact prevention earned him a Material Science Award, the Broadcom MASTERS Opportunity, Second Place in the Physics division and then his semi-finalist placement.

Even as he waits to find out about his impact project Warmuth said he is already working on his next project.