We are counting down the days till the start of football season. College, NFL and High School are all set to kick off in the next couple of weeks. A new study, published in Pediatrics, looks at the location of the impact and the severity of the concussion.
This is the first study that examines the impact zone of the hit to the head, and the severity of the concussion. A quick primer on concussions from the CDC is they are traumatic brain injury, resulting from a blow, bump or jolt to the head. The concussion changes how the brain works, and can lead to post-concussion syndrome.
Researchers used data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study to find which impact zones create the worst concussions. The quick answer? Don’t lower your head tackling. If you get a concussion from this method, the symptoms are likely to be worse and persist longer.
Using player-collision injuries, the team was able to determine that front of the head concussions were the most prevalent, occurring 44.7% of the time. Side impacts on the head accounted for 22.3% of concussion injuries.
Lost of consciousness came into play with top-of head concussions. The risk of blacking out doubled through top-of-head concussions. Eight percent of these injuries resulted in loss of consciousness. Less than four percent blacked out in all other impact zones.
What Does it Mean for Football?
If you watch games, you will see running backs lower their head to plow forward. Penalties have been instituted on the defense for targeting and leading with the head. Researchers in the study emphasize that keeping your head up while tackling is a must.
Good tackling form is great, but the NFL needs to institute better policies for offensive runners. They will lower their head as a tackler approaches, or running backs will go head first through the line.
An earlier study found that current helmets do little to reduce the risk factor. TBIs were reduced by only 20% wearing helmet, than not wearing one. Could be, who would be dumb enough to lay someone out head first without a helmet.
Symptoms Manifest Late
Some concussions get symptomatic right away, while others can manifest later. I actually had one earlier this this summer. It was around week 2 when I felt horrible and was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Definitely not a fun thing to have.
Below is a USA Football video on proper tackling.