New Study Suggests Less Football Practice Won’t Help Reduce Risk of Concussion

A new study, conducted by researchers from the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, challenges the belief that more practice will help reduce the risk of concussions in football players. Our current assumption is that more practice means better game performance and therefore, less head injuries during a game. However, this study published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering concludes that the amount of practice does not influence the number of concussions sustained during a game. The findings may in fact help reduce the frequency of contact drills during youth football practices. About 3.5 million children between the ages of 6 and 13 play football in the U.S. Last year, Pop Warner, the largest organized youth football league with 425,000 participants, recently limited contact practice time to reduce concussions. The study monitored fifty players on three youth teams in Virginia and North Carolina for one season. The players had six accelerometers placed in their helmets to measure how many times they sustained a blow to the head, what part of their helmets were struck and how much their heads accelerated when hit. The study concluded that 41% of all head hits were to the front of the helmet and 25% were to the back. 8% of the players (4 out of 50) sustained a concussion during this one season. The researchers then compiled the data from all three youth teams and found that the players who had adopted the Pop Warner rule changes sustained an average of 37-46% fewer hits than the players on the other two teams who did not follow the new Pop Warner rules. Players on these two other teams participated in nearly twice as many contact drills during practice than the Pop Warner team did. In a continuing effort to reduce the amount of concussions in youth football, USA Football has established a Safe Tackling program that helps teach coaches and players the proper tackling techniques. If your child is a personal injury victim suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury, contact our Neurolaw Trial Group for more information on how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Fill out our free evaluation form here. Read the full article here: NYTimes: Concussion Study Makes Case for Reducing Contact Drills for Youth Players