Head impact exposure and neurologic function of youth football players

Thayne A. Munce, Jason C. Dorman, Paul A. Thompson, Verle D. Valentine, Michael F. Bergeron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Football players are subjected to repetitive impacts that may lead to brain injury and neurologic dysfunction. Knowledge about head impact exposure (HIE) and consequent neurologic function among youth football players is limited. Purpose: This study aimed to measure and characterize HIE of youth football players throughout one season and explore associations between HIE and changes in selected clinical measures of neurologic function. Methods: Twenty-two youth football players (11-13 yr) wore helmets outfitted with a head impact telemetry (HIT) system to quantify head impact frequency, magnitude, duration, and location. Impact data were collected for each practice (27) and game (9) in a single season. Selected clinical measures of balance, oculomotor performance, reaction time, and self-reported symptoms were assessed before and after the season. Results: The median individual head impacts per practice, per game, and throughout the entire season were 9, 12, and 252, respectively. Approximately 50% of all head impacts (6183) had a linear acceleration between 10g and 20g, but nearly 2% were greater than 80g. Overall, the head impact frequency distributions in this study population were similar in magnitude and location as in high school and collegiate football, but total impact frequency was lower. Individual changes in neurologic function were not associated with cumulative HIE. Conclusion: This study provides a novel examination of HIE and associations with short-term neurologic function in youth football and notably contributes to the limited HIE data currently available for this population. Whereas youth football players can experience remarkably similar head impact forces as high school players, cumulative subconcussive HIE throughout one youth football season may not be detrimental to short-term clinical measures of neurologic function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1567-1576
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Volume47
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Fingerprint

Football
Nervous System
Head
Head Protective Devices
Telemetry
Neurologic Manifestations
Brain Injuries
Population

Keywords

  • Biomechanics
  • Concussion
  • Injury risk
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this

Head impact exposure and neurologic function of youth football players. / Munce, Thayne A.; Dorman, Jason C.; Thompson, Paul A.; Valentine, Verle D.; Bergeron, Michael F.

In: Medicine and science in sports and exercise, Vol. 47, No. 8, 01.01.2015, p. 1567-1576.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Munce, Thayne A. ; Dorman, Jason C. ; Thompson, Paul A. ; Valentine, Verle D. ; Bergeron, Michael F. / Head impact exposure and neurologic function of youth football players. In: Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2015 ; Vol. 47, No. 8. pp. 1567-1576.
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