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Scope of Accreditation

Mel Cook

Mel Cook is the Laboratory Supervisor for Southern Impact Research Center (SIRC) and Assistant Director of the Sports Biomechanics Impact Laboratory at the University of Tennessee. Mel is instrumental in maintaining a mechanical test facility accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), an internationally recognized accreditation body, to ISO/IEC 17025 for the specific tests listed in A2LA Certificate # 1412.01. Mel insures that our laboratory meets the relevant quality systems requirements of ISO 9001:1994. He implemented, organized and created the procedures necessary for our scope of accreditation to include testing of end use products such as bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets, equestrian helmet and vests, hockey helmets, snow sports helmets, team sports helmets such as football, baseball and lacrosse helmets to name a few. He directly supervises and trains Engineering Undergraduate students and full time laboratory technicians to perform testing of sports headgear. He is responsible for overseeing the testing of products to various standards of performance utilizing the procedures outlined in the methods for testing as written in standards by the American Society for Test Methods (ASTM), National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to name a few. He is a member of the ASTM F08 Committee responsible for developing standards of testing for Sports Equipment and Facilities. He advises laboratories across the country and worldwide on the methods for testing to the NOCSAE standards and assists in clarifying procedural methods. He develops and suggests new test procedures and methods presented to the NOCSAE board for approval as new standards. He was instrumental in developing software for the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioner's Association (NAERA) members for testing reconditioned sports headgear.

As a staff member of the University of Tennessee's Department of Industrial & Information Engineering, Mel has been involved in the research projects of several Master Candidates and PhD Candidates aiding them in the gathering of data relevant to their research endeavors. Retina detachment in air bag deployment, crushing forces applied to human phalanges, and mouth appliances designed to increase strength and endurance are just a few of the recent projects. As Assistant Director of the Sports Biomechanics Impact Laboratory, Mel has demonstrated the test techniques used to evaluate sports helmets to University students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Mel's current research is investigating the rotational acceleration induced in impacts to the head by using an anthropometrically correct humanoid head model instrumented with a nine accelerometers. This research will lead to a better understanding of the injury to humans induced by rotational forces.

Mel started his career in testing sports related gear with Athletic Helmet Incorporated in 1987, where he began as a technician in the Quality Assurance program for that company testing football and baseball helmets. Soon he became involved in the research and development of new products for Athletic Helmet using his skills and understanding of test methodology to aid in developing product that would withstand the rigors of testing. He quickly became interested in the fabrication and development of new products and continued his education both on the job and at institutes of higher education. Mel became proficient in the use of computer-aided drafting (CAD) to design new products. He worked for a Department of Defense Contractor testing electronic communication equipment as a Senior Electronics Technician before his employment at Athletic Helmet. He was trained as an Electronics Technician in the United States Air Force where he worked on a Satellite Communication site performing maintenance and repair of electronic equipment. Mel completed several electronics courses through the Community College of the United States Air Force. Mel has attended the University of Alabama as well as completed undergraduate courses in the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering with an emphasis in Electronics at the University of Tennessee.

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