Head Impact Exposure in Youth Soccer and Variation by Age and Sex

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To examine variation in head impact exposure (HIE) by age and sex in youth soccer.


Prospective cohort study.

Setting and Participants:

Youth soccer athletes (11-14 years old) in local clubs.


Age and sex.

Outcome Measures:

Head impact exposure measured using adhesive-mounted accelerometers during 1 month of soccer.


Forty-six youth athletes (54% female) participated. No athlete reported a concussion during the study. More males than females had at least 1 head impact ≥15 g (P = 0.02). Of those who sustained a head impact above the 15-g threshold (57%), females sustained HIE of greater magnitude than males (median 47.4 g vs 33.3 g, P = 0.04). Eighty-five percent of athletes on U14 teams had at least 1 head impact ≥15 g compared with 15% of athletes on U12 teams (P < 0.001). Poisson regression stratified by sex and controlling for team-suggested age effects were significant only for females (P = 0.02). There was significant variation in HIE by team. There were no decrements in concussion symptoms, health-related quality of life, or neuropsychological testing after 1 month of soccer play.


There is significant variation in HIE in youth soccer, which seems to be influenced by age and sex. Further studies are needed to better understand potential significance for injury prevention.

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