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Quantifying Head Impact Exposure in Collegiate Women's Soccer

Press, Jaclyn N. BS; Rowson, Steven PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: March 2017 - Volume 27 - Issue 2 - p 104–110
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000313
Original Research

Objective: The aim of this study was to quantify head impact exposure for a collegiate women's soccer team over the course of the 2014 season.

Design: Observational and prospective study.

Setting: Virginia Tech women's soccer games and practices.

Participants: Twenty-six collegiate level women's soccer players with a mean player age of 19 ± 1.

Interventions: Participating players were instrumented with head impact sensors for biomechanical analysis. Video recordings of each event were used to manually verify each impact sustained.

Main Outcome Measures: Head impact counts by player position and impact situation.

Results: The sensors collected data from a total of 17 865 accelerative events, 8999 of which were classified as head impacts. Of these, a total of 1703 impacts were positively identified (19% of total real impacts recorded by sensor), 90% of which were associated with heading the ball. The average number of impacts per player per practice or game was 1.86 ± 1.42. Exposure to head impact varied by player position.

Conclusions: Head impact exposure was quantified through 2 different methods, which illustrated the challenges associated with autonomously collecting acceleration data with head impact sensors. Users of head impact data must exercise caution when interpreting on-field head impact sensor data.

Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Corresponding Author: Steven Rowson, PhD, 343 Kelly Hall, 325 Stanger St, Blacksburg, VA 24061 (rowson@vt.edu).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received May 18, 2015

Accepted December 18, 2015

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.