Video Analysis Verification of Head Impact Events Measured by Wearable Sensors

Am J Sports Med. 2017 Aug;45(10):2379-2387. doi: 10.1177/0363546517706703. Epub 2017 May 25.


Background: Wearable sensors are increasingly used to quantify the frequency and magnitude of head impact events in multiple sports. There is a paucity of evidence that verifies head impact events recorded by wearable sensors.

Purpose: To utilize video analysis to verify head impact events recorded by wearable sensors and describe the respective frequency and magnitude.

Study design: Cohort study (diagnosis); Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: Thirty male (mean age, 16.6 ± 1.2 years; mean height, 1.77 ± 0.06 m; mean weight, 73.4 ± 12.2 kg) and 35 female (mean age, 16.2 ± 1.3 years; mean height, 1.66 ± 0.05 m; mean weight, 61.2 ± 6.4 kg) players volunteered to participate in this study during the 2014 and 2015 lacrosse seasons. Participants were instrumented with GForceTracker (GFT; boys) and X-Patch sensors (girls). Simultaneous game video was recorded by a trained videographer using a single camera located at the highest midfield location. One-third of the field was framed and panned to follow the ball during games. Videographic and accelerometer data were time synchronized. Head impact counts were compared with video recordings and were deemed valid if (1) the linear acceleration was ≥20 g, (2) the player was identified on the field, (3) the player was in camera view, and (4) the head impact mechanism could be clearly identified. Descriptive statistics of peak linear acceleration (PLA) and peak rotational velocity (PRV) for all verified head impacts ≥20 g were calculated.

Results: For the boys, a total recorded 1063 impacts (2014: n = 545; 2015: n = 518) were logged by the GFT between game start and end times (mean PLA, 46 ± 31 g; mean PRV, 1093 ± 661 deg/s) during 368 player-games. Of these impacts, 690 were verified via video analysis (65%; mean PLA, 48 ± 34 g; mean PRV, 1242 ± 617 deg/s). The X-Patch sensors, worn by the girls, recorded a total 180 impacts during the course of the games, and 58 (2014: n = 33; 2015: n = 25) were verified via video analysis (32%; mean PLA, 39 ± 21 g; mean PRV, 1664 ± 619 rad/s).

Conclusion: The current data indicate that existing wearable sensor technologies may substantially overestimate head impact events. Further, while the wearable sensors always estimated a head impact location, only 48% of the impacts were a result of direct contact to the head as characterized on video. Using wearable sensors and video to verify head impacts may decrease the inclusion of false-positive impacts during game activity in the analysis.

Keywords: accelerometer; head injury/concussion; methodology; wearable sensor.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnosis
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology*
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Racquet Sports / injuries*
  • Racquet Sports / statistics & numerical data
  • Video Recording / instrumentation
  • Video Recording / methods*