Characterizing head impact exposure in youth female soccer with a custom-instrumented mouthpiece

Res Sports Med. 2020 Jan-Mar;28(1):55-71. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2019.1590833. Epub 2019 Mar 16.


While many research efforts have focused on head impact exposure in professional soccer, there have been few studies characterizing exposure at the youth level. The aim of this study is to evaluate a new instrumentation approach and collect some of the first head impact exposure data for youth female soccer players. Athletes were instrumented with custom-fit mouthpieces that measure head impacts. Detailed video analysis was conducted to identify characteristics describing impact source (e.g., kick, header, throw). A total of 763 verified head impacts were collected over 23 practices and 8 games from 7 athletes. The median peak linear accelerations, rotational velocities, and rotational accelerations of all impacts were 9.4 g, 4.1 rad/s, and 689 rad/s2, respectively. Pairwise comparisons resulted in statistically significant differences in kinematics by impact source. Headers following a kicked ball had the highest accelerations and velocity when compared to headers from thrown or another header.

Keywords: Subconcussive head impacts; head impact exposure; instrumentation; mouthpiece; women’s soccer.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Child
  • Female
  • Head Injuries, Closed / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Mouth Protectors*
  • Soccer / injuries*