Sport participation is a key contributor to the physical and mental well-being of youth. However, increasing rates of concussion, along with concerns about the effect of repetitive head impacts on brain health, have caused reasonable concern over the safety of contact sports like football.
Investigators demonstrate that preseason evaluations targeting specific skills can be used to develop behavioral interventions that improve athletes’ abilities to engage in safer contact.
Equipped with helmet-sensors, 70 high school football players showed a 30% reduction in head impacts after taking part in a one-month intervention that implemented safer blocking and tackling techniques. These results suggest that data-informed interventions can be used to assess, modify and improve contact skills in high school football players.
Coaching practices employing such interventions will help ensure that athletes enjoy the benefits of team-based contact sports while reducing trauma and health care expenses resulting from head injuries. View the abstract