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Quantifying Head Impact Exposure in Collegiate Women's Soccer

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Abstract

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.

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