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The First Study of Head Impacts in Youth Football

In a groundbreaking study, researchers at Virginia Tech placed instrumented helmets on 7 and 8-year-old football players and collected data on more than 750 hits to the head over the course of a season.  See Video.

The findings provide the first quantitative assessment of the acceleration and risk that young brains are exposed to in youth football.

Lead researcher, Stefan Duma, a professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been gathering data on head impacts among college players at Virginia Tech for nine seasons.  In his new study, he reports some head impacts in youth football equal in force to some of the bigger hits he sees at the college level. “Nobody expected to see hits of this magnitude,” says Duma.

The study was conducted through the Center for Injury Biomechanics at Virginia Tech, the world’s largest laboratory for impact and injury research, with ongoing projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Transportation and NASA.

“Hard Hits, Hard Numbers” features interviews with Professor Duma, Dr. Gunnar Brolinson, who is head of Virginia Tech Sports Medicine, the coach of the participating youth football team, players and parents.