A new study examines whether the location of impact affects the severity of concussions in young athletes.
The study, "Impact Locations and Concussion Outcomes in High School Football Player-to-Player Collisions," in the September 2014 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 11), analyzed injury surveillance data for high school football players to calculate the rates and circumstances of concussions suffered during football.
Most concussions resulting from player-to-player collisions occurred on the front of the head (44.7 percent) and the side of the head (22.3 percent). In general, the number of symptoms, type of symptoms, symptom resolution time and length of time to return to play did not vary based on the location of impact. However, more football players who suffered concussions from an impact on the top of the head lost consciousness, compared to concussions from impacts elsewhere on the head. This type of injury was more likely to occur when players had their head down at the time of impact.
Study authors conclude that impact location is likely of little use in predicting clinical outcomes from concussion. The study findings support prevention strategies including education regarding tackling with proper "head-up" technique.