Head Impact Exposure In Youth Football

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To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare head impact exposure in leagues with different coaching education requirements (HUF vs NHUF). It is also one of the largest samples (70 players) of youth football players to wear accelerometers during an entire football season. Overall, we found that players who participated in HUF leagues received fewer impacts to the head per practice at both the 10g (mean difference, 3.4) and 20g (mean difference, 1.0) thresholds. Over the course of a 12-week season with a mean 3 practices per week, this would equate to 90 fewer ≥10g or 36 fewer ≥20g practice impacts sustained by players in the HUF leagues. These differences were also maintained when examining the 8- to 11-year and 12- to 15-year age groups.…show more content…
First, as seen in previous research,7 in a sample of 7- to 8-year-old football players, we noted more head impacts during practices compared with games. However, the difference between the mean number of impacts per practice and per game in our study (7.5 vs 12.9) was greater than those reported by Cobb et al5 (9.5 vs 9.6), Young et al26 (9 vs 11), and Munce et al19 (9 vs 12). One additional study found the mean number of impacts per practice was greater than that per game (6.7 vs 5.8).7 Second, the mean number of impacts across the season (106.8) in the current study was similar to that of Daniel et al7 (107) but lower than that of other studies (range, 161-252).5,19,26 These variations may be due to differences in the demographics of our sample, such as age and location. However, this difference may also be due to our purposeful selection of teams implementing the HUF educational program. Had we utilized a sample of all NHUF groups, it is likely that our mean number of impacts per practice and across the season would have been similar. Nevertheless, given that all these studies utilize small sample sizes, further exploration of head impact exposure is…show more content…
First, we chose to limit the subsample of head impact exposure to 8- to 15-year-olds to maximize our chances of capturing concussions. From previous research,9,14 we expected few if any concussions in the 5- to 7-year age group. Despite this, we captured few concussions on players wearing accelerometers and were underpowered to examine statistical differences between impacts resulting and not resulting in concussion. In addition, although all concussions occurred in NHUF leagues, differences in concussion rates between HUF and NHUF leagues were not found among the entire cohort.13 Future research should include a broader sample and perhaps include players at the youngest
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