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New Study Finds Youth Football Players Have Significant Differences in Head Impact Exposure

Summary: Researchers studied 97 football players between the ages of 9 and 13 years over four football seasons in different age and and weight based levels. They found the young players experienced a total of 40,538 head impacts during the four seasons of football games and practices. Significant differences in head impacts were seen between those in the games and practices.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert

A study of 97 youth football players ages 9-13 years, who participated in different age and weight based levels over four seasons of play, found that the youngsters experienced a total of 40,538 head impacts. Measures of linear head acceleration and the number of impacts per player in competition versus practice sessions differed significantly depending on the youngsters’ age/weight level, as reported in the study published in Journal of Neurotrauma, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Joel Stitzel, PhD, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC and coauthors from Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences and University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX present their findings in the article entitled “Head Impact Exposure in Youth Football: Comparing Age and Weight Based Levels of Play.”

The researchers emphasize that the significant increases seen in the magnitudes of head impact from one level to the next suggest that all youth athletes should not be evaluated as one group when assessing head impact exposure and injury risk. The data obtained from this type of study can be useful for designing evidence-based interventions.

a football helmet and ball are shown.

The researchers emphasize that the significant increases seen in the magnitudes of head impact from one level to the next suggest that all youth athletes should not be evaluated as one group when assessing head impact exposure and injury risk. NeuroscienceNews.com image is for illustrative purposes only.

“As controversy rages in relation to the damaging consequences of youth football, this study is particularly timely. It forces us to recalibrate our understanding of youth head impact exposure not only in practice and game day settings but also in the context of the athlete’s age,” says John T. Povlishock, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Neurotrauma and Professor, Medical College of Virginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

About this neuroscience research article

Funding: Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the under Award Numbers R01NS094410 and R01NS082453 and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences under Award Number KL2TR001421. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “Head Impact Exposure in Youth Football: Comparing Age- and Weight-Based Levels of Play” by Kelley Mireille E., Urban Jillian E., Miller Logan E., Jones Derek A., Espeland Mark A., Davenport Elizabeth M., Whitlow Christopher T., Maldjian Joseph A., and Stitzel Joel D. in Journal of Neurotrauma. Published online April 7 2017 doi:10.1089/neu.2016.4812

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
Mary Ann Liebert. “New Study Finds Youth Football Players Have Significant Differences in Head Impact Exposure ” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 7 June 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/youth-football-concussions-6863/>.
Mary Ann Liebert. (2017, June 7). New Study Finds Youth Football Players Have Significant Differences in Head Impact Exposure. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved June 7, 2017 from http://neurosciencenews.com/youth-football-concussions-6863/
Mary Ann Liebert. “New Study Finds Youth Football Players Have Significant Differences in Head Impact Exposure.” http://neurosciencenews.com/youth-football-concussions-6863/ (accessed June 7, 2017).

Abstract

Head Impact Exposure in Youth Football: Comparing Age- and Weight-Based Levels of Play

Approximately 5,000,000 athletes play organized football in the United States, and youth athletes constitute the largest proportion with ~3,500,000 participants. Investigations of head impact exposure (HIE) in youth football have been limited in size and duration. The objective of this study was to evaluate HIE of athletes participating in three age- and weight-based levels of play within a single youth football organization over four seasons. Head impact data were collected using the Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System. Mixed effects linear models were fitted, and Wald tests were used to assess differences in head accelerations and number of impacts among levels and session type (competitions vs. practices). The three levels studied were levels A (n?=?39, age?=?10.8?±?0.7 years, weight?=?97.5?±?11.8 lb), B (n?=?48, age?=?11.9?±?0.5 years, weight?=?106.1?±?13.8?lb), and C (n?=?32, age?=?13.0?±?0.5 years, weight?=?126.5?±?18.6?lb). A total of 40,538 head impacts were measured. The median/95th percentile linear head acceleration for levels A, B, and C was 19.8/49.4g, 20.6/51.0g, and 22.0/57.9g, respectively. Level C had significantly greater mean linear acceleration than both levels A (p?=?0.005) and B (p?=?0.02). There were a significantly greater number of impacts per player in a competition than in a practice session for all levels (A, p?=?0.0005, B, p?=?0.0019, and C, p?-?0.0001). Athletes at lower levels experienced a greater percentage of their high magnitude impacts (= 80g) in practice, whereas those at the highest level experienced a greater percentage of their high magnitude impacts in competition. These data improve our understanding of HIE within youth football and are an important step in making evidence-based decisions to reduce HIE.

Source: “Head Impact Exposure in Youth Football: Comparing Age- and Weight-Based Levels of Play” by Kelley Mireille E., Urban Jillian E., Miller Logan E., Jones Derek A., Espeland Mark A., Davenport Elizabeth M., Whitlow Christopher T., Maldjian Joseph A., and Stitzel Joel D. in Journal of Neurotrauma. Published online April 7, 2017 doi: 10.1089/neu.2016.4812

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