Amending Sport Guidelines May Reduce Head Impacts

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The best way to reduce concussion risk is to limit the number of head impacts a player sustains.
The best way to reduce concussion risk is to limit the number of head impacts a player sustains.

Reducing head impacts in college sports can prevent players from suffering from more severe injuries down the road. Protecting athletes from these incidents take more than just awareness — it takes change.

Published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, a recent report outlines reasons why the NCAA should amend its guidelines if it wants to reduce head impacts. The study's authors believe that the organization's failure to provide regulation comes at a cost to college players that seems "unnecessarily high."

In order to conduct a high-tech impact assessment, researchers had football players wear a high-tech impact-sensing patch behind their ear during 12 games, 27 full-pad practices, 29 half-pad practices and 10 helmet-only practices. The study's authors recorded and measured a total of 890 practice and game events from 16 players — all from the University of Virginia.

Researchers found that players suffered more head impacts during games and learned that there was a relationship between the amount of padding players wore and the number of head impacts during practice. More padding equaled more head impacts.

Impact severity was also measured; however, researchers found no difference in games and practices, except for helmet-only practices (which had a lower average impact severity).

Study author Bryson Reynolds, a doctoral candidate in Nueroscience at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said in an interview that his team of researchers does not believe the study's findings will change the way clinicians treat athletes with clinical symptoms that result from a specific head impact.

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