A recent study on concussions in high school football revealed that the location of the impact on the head may not be associated with clinical outcomes, but it may indicate the need for safer tackling. A news report from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) notes that a recent study aimed to examine whether the location of a concussion (front, back, side, or top of the head) was linked to the number or prevalence of symptoms, symptom resolution, and return-to-play times for high school football players. The study of 1,975 concussion incidents “suggests that impact location is likely of little use in predicting clinical outcomes.”
The research team used data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System, High School Reporting Information Online (RIO), a system based on reports from high school athletic trainers over 5 seasons from 2008 to 2013. The reports included data on impact location, symptom resolution, and symptomology. The APTA news release indicates that the only factor that appeared to be influenced by the location of the concussion was related to loss of consciousness, which was experienced at twice the rate of concussed players sustaining top-of-the-head impacts compared with all other areas.
The findings of the study highlight the need to emphasize “heads up” tackling given that 70.7% of all concussions caused by player-to-player collisions were the result of head-to-head contact, according to the APTA news release. The author of the study write, “Concussions from top-of-the-head impacts, and the resulting risks associated with such impacts, may be reduced by enforcing rules prohibiting players from leading with their head. Players must never initiate contact with the helmet or make contact while head-down.”
To view the full article, visit http://pediatrics.aappublications.org.