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Less contact during football practice can reduce youth head injuries: study

July 31, 2013

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Winston-Salem, NC – Limiting contact during football practice could reduce head injuries among young players, concludes a new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Virginia Tech.

The study involved 50 players 9 to 12 years old from three different teams. All wore sensors on their helmets to record head impacts.

Players on Team A incurred roughly 37-46 percent fewer head hits than players on the other teams, which researchers attributed to Team A holding fewer practices and implementing a rule limiting contact during practice. The other two teams did not have such a rule.

Researchers noted that all three teams had a similar amount of head exposures during games, suggesting that efforts to reduce head hits should focus on practice. Also, coaching style influenced which drills players ran, and could likewise affect player exposure to head hits, they said.

The study was published in the July issue of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.