HealthDay News — Player-to-player hits are especially damaging, according to results from a study published in Pediatrics that used data from devices inside the helmets of high school football players.

Researchers outfitted 32 high school football players with devices that monitored the movement of their heads upon impact. The researchers analyzed video and other information from 3888 impacts during a 13-game season.

The investigators found that several types of hits resulted in a larger magnitude of impact: those with other players; during the second quarter; in the first of a 2-part impact; and when players traveled a longer distance prior to the collision. The researchers also linked 3-point stances (when players line up with one hand touching the ground) to higher-magnitude impacts when they were combined with players traveling a longer distance. And they found a higher risk in impacts linked to 2-point stances (with no hand contact with the ground).

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“Schools should emphasize proper tackling technique by teaching proper head and body position,” study author Julianne Schmidt, PhD, an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia in Athens, told HealthDay. “Keeping the head up and avoiding head contact with another player may reduce the magnitude of head impacts sustained while playing football or prevent the head impact all together.” Dr Schmidt also suggested using rules or coaches to reduce collisions that occur after players run a long distance.


Schmidt J, Guskiewicz K, Mihalik J, Blackburn J, Siegmund G, Marshall S. Head Impact Magnitude in American High School Football. Pediatrics. 2016. doi:10.1542/peds.2015-4231.