Quantifying Head Impact Exposure in Collegiate Women's Soccer

Clin J Sport Med. 2017 Mar;27(2):104-110. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000313.


Objective: The aim of this study was to quantify head impact exposure for a collegiate women's soccer team over the course of the 2014 season.

Design: Observational and prospective study.

Setting: Virginia Tech women's soccer games and practices.

Participants: Twenty-six collegiate level women's soccer players with a mean player age of 19 ± 1.

Interventions: Participating players were instrumented with head impact sensors for biomechanical analysis. Video recordings of each event were used to manually verify each impact sustained.

Main outcome measures: Head impact counts by player position and impact situation.

Results: The sensors collected data from a total of 17 865 accelerative events, 8999 of which were classified as head impacts. Of these, a total of 1703 impacts were positively identified (19% of total real impacts recorded by sensor), 90% of which were associated with heading the ball. The average number of impacts per player per practice or game was 1.86 ± 1.42. Exposure to head impact varied by player position.

Conclusions: Head impact exposure was quantified through 2 different methods, which illustrated the challenges associated with autonomously collecting acceleration data with head impact sensors. Users of head impact data must exercise caution when interpreting on-field head impact sensor data.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Head Injuries, Closed / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Virginia / epidemiology
  • Young Adult