HCN News & Notes

Football Team Followed for Season to Measure Head-impact Severity

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — A study in the August 2016 issue of Pediatrics followed 32 varsity high-school football players during a season, using equipment housed in their helmets to measure the magnitude and types of impacts to the head.

The study, “Head Impact Severity in American High School Football,” focused on three measures of head impact magnitude: linear acceleration, rotational acceleration, and ‘head-impact technology severity profile,’ a weighted combination of several biomechanical inputs. Data captured during 11 regular-season and two playoff games included 6,957 head impacts, more than half of which were viewable on videotape.

Researchers found that head impacts that resulted from contact with another player were of significantly higher magnitude compared with head impacts caused by other objects or surfaces. The results indicate that minimizing or eliminating head impacts caused by contact with another player may reduce head-impact magnitude in high-school football.

While the study was limited by its small sample size and lack of analysis of concussion risk, the findings offer information to increase understanding of how to minimize head impacts through rule changes, coaching technique, and athlete preparation.