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Biomed Sci Instrum. 2009;45:113-8.

Correlating cumulative sub-concussive head impacts in football with player performance - biomed 2009.

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Virginia Tech-Wake Forest Center for Injury Biomechanics, Blackburg, VA.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of cumulative sub-concussive head impacts on football player performance. The helmets of three Virginia Tech football players were instrumented with a six accelerometer sensor capable of measuring head acceleration. Helmets were instrumented for every game during the 2006 and 2007 football seasons. Each time the head was impacted during a game, the sensor recorded the impact and wirelessly transmitted the data to a sideline computer. Furthermore, the coaching staff at Virginia Tech reviewed post-game film and evaluated each player's performance based on strict criteria. Players were awarded positive points for good plays and negative points for bad plays. Their performance scores were then normalized to a per play basis. Correlations of player performance with cumulative peak linear acceleration and cumulative head injury criterion (HIC) were evaluated. No consistent head acceleration-based measure showed a strong correlation with significance. In addition, relationship trends varied on a position basis. There are many factors other than head impacts that can affect a player's performance and more research is needed to further quantify such effects.


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