Frequency and Location of Head Impact Exposures in Individual Collegiate Football Players

Department of Orthopaedics, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903, USA.
Journal of athletic training (Impact Factor: 1.51). 11/2010; 45(6):549-59. DOI: 10.4085/1062-6050-45.6.549
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Measuring head impact exposure is a critical step toward understanding the mechanism and prevention of sport-related mild traumatic brain (concussion) injury, as well as the possible effects of repeated subconcussive impacts.
To quantify the frequency and location of head impacts that individual players received in 1 season among 3 collegiate teams, between practice and game sessions, and among player positions.
Cohort study.
Collegiate football field.
One hundred eighty-eight players from 3 National Collegiate Athletic Association football teams.
Participants wore football helmets instrumented with an accelerometer-based system during the 2007 fall season.
The number of head impacts greater than 10 g and location of the impacts on the player's helmet were recorded and analyzed for trends and interactions among teams (A, B, or C), session types, and player positions using Kaplan-Meier survival curves.
The total number of impacts players received was nonnormally distributed and varied by team, session type, and player position. The maximum number of head impacts for a single player on each team was 1022 (team A), 1412 (team B), and 1444 (team C). The median number of head impacts on each team was 4.8 (team A), 7.5 (team B), and 6.6 (team C) impacts per practice and 12.1 (team A), 14.6 (team B), and 16.3 (team C) impacts per game. Linemen and linebackers had the largest number of impacts per practice and per game. Offensive linemen had a higher percentage of impacts to the front than to the back of the helmet, whereas quarterbacks had a higher percentage to the back than to the front of the helmet.
The frequency of head impacts and the location on the helmet where the impacts occur are functions of player position and session type. These data provide a basis for quantifying specific head impact exposure for studies related to understanding the biomechanics and clinical aspects of concussion injury, as well as the possible effects of repeated subconcussive impacts in football.

Download full-text


Available from: Per Gunnar Brolinson, Sep 03, 2015
  • Source
    • "Ten active UR varsity football players were asked to participate and all agreed. These athletes were chosen for the variety of positions and anticipated head impacts they would experience during the season, which was informed by prior studies [3], [26]. Controls were selected based on response to a campus-wide call for research volunteers. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Repetitive head impacts (RHI) sustained in contact sports are thought to be necessary for the long-term development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Our objectives were to: 1) characterize the magnitude and persistence of RHI-induced white matter (WM) changes; 2) determine their relationship to kinematic measures of RHI; and 3) explore their clinical relevance. Prospective, observational study of 10 Division III college football players and 5 non-athlete controls during the 2011-12 season. All subjects underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), physiologic, cognitive, and balance testing at pre-season (Time 1), post-season (Time 2), and after 6-months of no-contact rest (Time 3). Head impact measures were recorded using helmet-mounted accelerometers. The percentage of whole-brain WM voxels with significant changes in fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) from Time 1 to 2, and Time 1 to 3 was determined for each subject and correlated to head impacts and clinical measures. Total head impacts for the season ranged from 431-1,850. No athlete suffered a clinically evident concussion. Compared to controls, athletes experienced greater changes in FA and MD from Time 1 to 2 as well as Time 1 to 3; most differences at Time 2 persisted to Time 3. Among athletes, the percentage of voxels with decreased FA from Time 1 to 2 was positively correlated with several helmet impact measures. The persistence of WM changes from Time 1 to 3 was also associated with changes in serum ApoA1 and S100B autoantibodies. WM changes were not consistently associated with cognition or balance. A single football season of RHIs without clinically-evident concussion resulted in WM changes that correlated with multiple helmet impact measures and persisted following 6 months of no-contact rest. This lack of WM recovery could potentially contribute to cumulative WM changes with subsequent RHI exposures.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e94734. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094734 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "It has been estimated that elementary school-aged football players (ages 9–12 years) average 240 head impacts per season (Cobb et al. 2013). Individual high school football players can receive between 650 and 900 head impacts per season (Broglio et al. 2011a, 2012) or greater than 25 impacts per game plus practice sessions (Urban et al. 2013) and some collegiate football players have sustained upwards of 1440 head impacts in a single season (Crisco et al. 2010). Each of these studies derived the number of head impacts sustained by individual players by using helmets instrumented with the Head Impact Telemetry system. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sports-related head impact and injury has become a very highly contentious public health and medico-legal issue. Near-daily news accounts describe the travails of concussed athletes as they struggle with depression, sleep disorders, mood swings and cognitive problems. Some of these individuals have developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive and debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. Animal models have always been an integral part of the study of traumatic brain injury in humans but, historically, they have concentrated on acute, severe brain injuries. This review will describe a small number of new and emerging animal models of sports-related head injury that have the potential to increase our understanding of how multiple mild head impacts, starting in adolescence, can have serious psychiatric, cognitive and histopathological outcomes much later in life. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 02/2014; 129(6). DOI:10.1111/jnc.12690 · 4.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Players experienced slightly greater impact frequencies and acceleration magnitudes in games than in practice, similar to findings of high school and college football studies.4,7,9,29 For example, a group of high school players, experienced a mean linear acceleration magnitude of 23 g in practices and 25 g in games while the players in this study had a mean linear acceleration magnitude of 22 g in practices and 23 g in games.5 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Head impact exposure in youth football has not been well-documented, despite children under the age of 14 accounting for 70% of all football players in the United States. The objective of this study was to quantify the head impact exposure of youth football players, age 9-12, for all practices and games over the course of single season. A total of 50 players (age = 11.0 ± 1.1 years) on three teams were equipped with helmet mounted accelerometer arrays, which monitored each impact players sustained during practices and games. During the season, 11,978 impacts were recorded for this age group. Players averaged 240 ± 147 impacts for the season with linear and rotational 95th percentile magnitudes of 43 ± 7 g and 2034 ± 361 rad/s(2). Overall, practice and game sessions involved similar impact frequencies and magnitudes. One of the three teams however, had substantially fewer impacts per practice and lower 95th percentile magnitudes in practices due to a concerted effort to limit contact in practices. The same team also participated in fewer practices, further reducing the number of impacts each player experienced in practice. Head impact exposures in games showed no statistical difference. While the acceleration magnitudes among 9-12 year old players tended to be lower than those reported for older players, some recorded high magnitude impacts were similar to those seen at the high school and college level. Head impact exposure in youth football may be appreciably reduced by limiting contact in practices. Further research is required to assess whether such a reduction in head impact exposure will result in a reduction in concussion incidence.
    Annals of Biomedical Engineering 07/2013; 41(12). DOI:10.1007/s10439-013-0867-6 · 3.23 Impact Factor
Show more