Head Impact Exposure in Practices Correlates With Exposure in Games for Youth Football Players

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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This study aimed to compare head impact exposures between practices and games in football players ages 9 to 14 years, who account for approximately 70% of all football players in the United States. Over a period of 2 seasons, 136 players were enrolled from 3 youth programs, and 49,847 head impacts were recorded from 345 practices and 137 games. During the study, individual players sustained a median of 211 impacts per season, with a maximum of 1226 impacts. Players sustained 50th (95th) percentile peak linear acceleration of 18.3 (46.9) g, peak rotational acceleration of 1305.4 (3316.6) rad·s−2, and Head Impact Technology Severity Profile of 13.7 (24.3), respectively. Overall, players with a higher frequency of head impacts at practices recorded a higher frequency of head impacts at games (P < .001, r 2 = .52), and players who sustained a greater average magnitude of head impacts during practice also recorded a greater average magnitude of head impacts during games (P < .001). The youth football head impact data quantified in this study provide valuable insight into the player exposure profile, which should serve as a key baseline in efforts to reduce injury.

Bellamkonda, Woodward, and Crisco are with Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedics, Rhode Island Hospital, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. Genemaras, Beckwith, and Greenwald are with Simbex, Lebanon, NH, USA. Maerlender is with the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, USA. Campolettan, Gellner, Rowson, and Duma are with the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. Kelley, Jones, Urban, and Stitzel are with the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering & Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Crisco (joseph_crisco@brown.edu) is corresponding author.
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