Research is getting better and better when it comes to the impact of contact sports and its impact on the head, especially in football.
Thursday, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center announced they have developed a new way to measure the cumulative effect of impacts to the head incurred by football players.
The metric, called Risk Weighted Cumulative Exposure (RWE), can capture players' exposure to the risk of concussion over the course of a football season by measuring the frequency and magnitude of all impacts, said senior author of the study Joel Stitzel, Ph.D., chair of biomedical engineering at Wake Forest Baptist and associate head of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.
The study is published in the current online edition of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
Based on data gathered throughout a season of high school football games and practices, the researchers used RWE to measure the cumulative risk of injury due to linear and rotational acceleration separately, as well as the combined probability of injury associated with both.
In the Wake Forest Baptist study, the researchers measured the head impact exposure in 40 high school football players by using sensors placed in their helmets to record linear and rotational acceleration. A total of 16,502 impacts were collected over the course of one football season and the data were analyzed as a group and as individual players.
Impacts were weighted according to the associated risk from linear acceleration and rotational acceleration alone, as well as to the combined probability of injury associated with both. This is an improved method of capturing the cumulative effects from each impact because it accounts for nonlinear relationships between impact magnitude and the associated risk of injury, Stitzel said.
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*Information provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center