Player-to-Player Hits in Football Up Magnitude of Head Impacts

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Player-to-Player Hits in Football Up Magnitude of Head Impacts
Player-to-Player Hits in Football Up Magnitude of Head Impacts

MONDAY, July 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- As officials at all levels of American football continue to debate how to prevent concussions, a new study, published online July 18 in Pediatrics, using data from devices inside the helmets of high school players confirms that hits with other players are especially damaging.

Researchers outfitted 32 high school football players with devices that monitored the movement of their heads upon impact. The researchers analyzed video and other information from 3,888 impacts during a 13-game season.

The investigators found that several types of hits resulted in a larger magnitude of impact: those with other players; during the second quarter; in the first of a two-part impact; and when players traveled a longer distance prior to the collision. The researchers also linked three-point stances (when players line up with one hand touching the ground) to higher-magnitude impacts when they were combined with players traveling a longer distance. And they found a higher risk in impacts linked to two-point stances (with no hand contact with the ground).

"Schools should emphasize proper tackling technique by teaching proper head and body position," study author Julianne Schmidt, Ph.D., an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia in Athens, told HealthDay. "Keeping the head up and avoiding head contact with another player may reduce the magnitude of head impacts sustained while playing football or prevent the head impact all together." Schmidt also suggested using rules or coaches to reduce collisions that occur after players run a long distance.

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