No evidence for a cumulative impact effect on concussion injury threshold

J Neurotrauma. 2011 Oct;28(10):2079-90. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.1910. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


Recent studies using a helmet-based accelerometer system (Head Impact Telemetry System [HITS]) have demonstrated that concussions result from a wide range of head impact magnitudes. Variability in concussion thresholds has been proposed to result from the cumulative effect of non-concussive head impacts prior to injury. We used the HITS to collect biomechanical data representing >100,000 head impacts in 95 high school football players over 4 years. The cumulative impact histories prior to 20 concussive impacts in 19 athletes were compared to the cumulative impact histories prior to the three largest magnitude non-concussive head impacts in the same athletes. No differences were present in any impact history variable between the concussive and non-concussive high magnitude impacts. These analyses included the number of head impacts, cumulative HIT severity profile value, cumulative linear acceleration, and cumulative rotational acceleration during the same practice or game session, as well as over the 30 min and 1 week preceding these impacts. Our data do not support the proposal that impact volume or intensity influence concussion threshold in high school football athletes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Brain Concussion / pathology*
  • Child
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Football / injuries*
  • Head Protective Devices
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Rotation
  • Telemetry
  • Time Factors