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Sports Medicine Feature

Source: Wikimedia Commons and Samuel King Jr.

Youth Football: Player Position Concussion Risk Factor

Tracey Romero • Fri, November 17th, 2017

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New research, “High-magnitude head impact exposure in youth football,” published in the October 2017 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, suggests that the position on the field can be a risk factor for concussion in youth football.

In this study, researchers tried to determine which specific situations in youth football games and practices high-magnitude impacts were more likely.

The study focused on 45 players (mean age 10.7 ± 1.1 years) on two youth teams. The players wore helmets equipped with accelerometer arrays to record head impact accelerations for all practices and games. “Video recordings from practices and games were used to verify all high-magnitude head impacts, identify specific impact characteristics, and determine the amount of time spent in each activity.”

According to the data, out of 7,590 impacts, 571 of them resulted in high-magnitude head impact accelerations greater than 40g. These impacts were most likely in the open field in both games (59.4%) and practices (67.5%).

Position also seems to matter. Players in a “Back” position were most likely to experience high-magnitude impacts.

The researchers wrote, “The analysis also suggests that practice intensity, which may be influenced by coaching style, may also effect high-magnitude head impact exposure.”

They added, “Future studies should investigate this aspect as a factor affecting head impact exposure.”

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