In football, a player-on-player hit may be more likely to cause a more severe head injury than any other type of impact, a recent study suggests.

Study author Julianne Schmidt, assistant professor in the University of Georgia College of Education, looked at game videos to analyze nearly 7,000 head impacts during 13 games of a high school football team’s regular and postseason play.

Per her analysis, the players sustained more serious head injuries when they hit another player during the game than when they hit their head on another object, such as the ground, according to a media release from the University of Georgia.

According to Schmidt, the distance players ran before impact, as well as their starting stance, also affected the severity of their head impact. Players who ran more than 10 yards before impact had much more severe head injuries than those who traveled just a few feet, which is similar to earlier findings in studies of college football players. These studies resulted in a change to the kickoff line, moving it from the 30- to the 35-yard-line to reduce the distance players ran.

Players were even more likely to sustain a more severe head injury if they began running in the traditional three-point stance and ran a long time before impact, per the release.

“When you combine a three-point stance with running a long distance, it results in the most severe head impacts,” said Schmidt, who studies concussions in the college’s department of kinesiology, in the release. “So that points toward a need for rule changes that emphasize the combination of the two if we’re going to reduce head impact severity.”

“High school football players that start in a three-point stance do not typically run a long distance before collision, but some position types, like tight ends and defensive ends, might be more likely to combine the two,” she adds.

The study was published recently in the journal Pediatrics.

[Source(s): University of Georgia, Science Daily]