Inspiring Minds seeks to broaden awareness and impact of graduate student research, while enhancing transferable skills. Students were challenged to describe their research, scholarship or creative activity in 150 or fewer words to share with our community.




My research investigates how we can prevent incidences of commotio cordis in children playing sports. Commotio cordis is a rare occurrence in which an individual is hit over the chest with an object such as a baseball, causing the heart to stop, often being fatal. Commotio cordis is most common in children and has resulted in over 224 recorded fatalities. Due to lack of awareness and misdiagnosis, this number is likely higher. Current baseball chest protectors fail to prevent commotio cordis, with fatalities often occurring in children wearing chest protectors. Currently, we have identified vulnerable positions over the chest that may result in commotio cordis in children playing baseball, while also developing new injury testing metrics that can determine the effectiveness of baseball chest protectors. Our future research aims to explore other sports and avenues in which we can prevent commotio cordis and save the lives of children in sport.

Grant James
PhD candidate, Biomedical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering - Western University

Haojie Mao


Grant James is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering specializing in impact biomechanics. His dissertation is on the study of sudden cardiac death from impacts over the heart, known as “Commotio cordis”, and how to enhance sports protection and regulations to prevent incidents in both children and adults. Throughout his tenure at Western University, Grant and his team have made significant contributions to Commotio cordis research. Grant’s dedication to this field has earned him recognition, including the 2022 Mitac’s Globalink Research Award and the recent honor of receiving the 2023 Ontario Graduate Scholarship. In 2022, Grant embarked on a collaborative journey to Bern, Switzerland, where he worked with Cardiologists on a research project. The outcome of this collaboration was the publication of their findings in Annals of Biomedical Engineering in 2023. This collaborative effort laid the groundwork for future partnerships between researchers at the University of Bern and Western University. 

View Grant's work as it appears in the Inspiring Minds Digital Collection:

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