A Season of Football Head Impacts Does Not Affect Balance

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There is considerable public concern about the effects of repetitive football head impacts on a player’s brain health. Many studies suggest a link between head impacts and poorer health. Safe and efficient walking and balance are critical for activities of daily living and can reflect a person’s overall health.

In this study, investigators evaluated 34 collegiate football players who wore head impact sensors and compared their walking and balance to 13 cheerleaders before and after a single season at two different colleges. Surprisingly, there was no worsening of walking or balance performance in the football players over the course of the season compared to their status before a season or compared to the cheerleaders. The helmet sensor data showed that these players, on average, were exposed to 538 impacts over the course of the competitive season. However, neither the number of impacts nor the force of the impacts had much influence on walking or balance performance measures in the athletes.

The conclusion of this study is that repetitive football head impacts did not affect walking or balance performance over a single season. The possible effects of these impacts over multiple seasons or in later life remain unknown.

For more information, view the abstract

American College of Sports Medicine

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Proven Strategies for Concussion Safety and Prevention

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Dr. Nik Verma  from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush discusses proven strategies for safety and prevention of concussion.

nikhil vermaDr. Verma specializes in treatment of the shoulder, elbow and knee with an emphasis on advanced arthroscopic reconstructive techniques of the shoulder, shoulder replacement, knee ligament reconstruction and articular cartilage reconstruction and meniscal transplantation.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Verma completed his orthopedic residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. He then completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in sports medicine and shoulder surgery. While in New York, he served as an assistant team physician for the St. John’s University Athletic Department. He also received specialized training in treatment of shoulder and elbow disorders in the overhead throwing athlete.

Currently, Dr. Verma maintains an active clinical practice performing over 500 procedures per year. He is Director of the Division of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition, he serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Nazareth Academy.

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Verma is actively involved in orthopedic research with interests in basic science, biomechanics and clinical outcomes, and has recently received funding for his work from Major League Baseball.

He has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts in major orthopedic and sports medicine journals, numerous book chapters, and routinely serves as teaching faculty for orthopedic courses on advanced surgical techniques. He frequently serves as an invited speaker or guest surgeon for national and international orthopedic sports medicine meetings.

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Why study the brains of sports players?

The Drake Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation committed to improving understanding of concussion injuries in sport, based on scientific research and collaboration. Launched in 2014, they have already committed over £2 million in research funding and invested in open access education resources. By bringing together the brightest minds from neuroscience and sports to facilitate collaborations and research, they aim to bring to light how to improve sports safety and provide a valuable insight into the processes underlying neurodegenerative diseases.
This timeline pinpoints the milestones in The Drake Foundation’s work so far, including their ongoing research and completed studies, along with events that they have partaken in with the hope to progress their establishment with more projects that work to answer these key public health concerns.

The Drake Foundation aims to improve understanding of concussion in sport and its effects on long-term brain health.

For more information about The Drake Foundation, visit https://www.drakefoundation.org/

 

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The Future of Football Head Protection and Equipment Technologies

Dr. Brian Cole and Steve Kashul talk with Thad Ide, Senior VP of Research and Product Development for Riddell, about recent innovations in the future of football head protection and equipment technologies.

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