Biomechanics of Head Impacts in Soccer
Press, Jaclyn Nicole
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An estimated 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur every year. Little research has been collected on soccer players, despite women's soccer having the third highest rate of concussion among all popular collegiate sports. The objective of this work was to evaluate multiple interventions that have been introduced to address the high rate of concussions in this population. Wearable head impact sensors were evaluated on their ability to accurately count and measure head impacts during a collegiate women's soccer season. Head impact exposure was quantified using video analysis of this season as well. Sensors were unable to accurately count impacts and reported nonsensical head acceleration measurements, indicating that data reported from head impact sensors should be interpreted with caution. The ability of soccer headgear to reduce linear and rotational head accelerations during common soccer impacts was examined in the laboratory. Ball-to-head and head-to-head impacts were performed at a range of speeds and impact orientations. Headgear resulted in small reductions during ball-to-head tests, which are not likely to be clinically relevant. In head-to-head tests, use of headgear on the struck head provided an overall 35% reduction in linear head acceleration, and a 53% reduction when another headgear was added to the striking head. The ten headgear tested varied greatly in performance. These data suggest that the use of protective headgear could reduce concussion incidence significantly in this population. Research presented in this thesis will inform soccer organizations on best practices for player safety with regard to head impacts.
- Masters Theses