Individual Impact Magnitude vs. Cumulative Magnitude for Estimating Concussion Odds

KL O'Connor, Thomas Peeters, S Szymanski, SP Broglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Helmeted impact devices have allowed researchers to investigate the biomechanics of head impacts in vivo. While increased impact magnitude has been associated with greater concussion risk, a definitive concussive threshold has not been established. It is likely that concussion risk is not determined by a single impact itself, but a host of predisposing factors. These factors may include genetics, fatigue, and/or prior head impact exposure. The objective of the current paper is to investigate the association between cumulative head impact magnitude and concussion risk. It is hypothesized that increased cumulative magnitudes will be associated with greater concussion risk. This retrospective analysis included participants that were recruited from regional high-schools in Illinois and Michigan from 2007 to 2014 as part of an ongoing study on concussion biomechanics. Across seven seasons, 185 high school football athletes were instrumented with the Head Impact Telemetry system. Out of 185 athletes, 31 (17%) sustained a concussion, with two athletes sustaining two concussions over the study period, yielding 33 concussive events. The system recorded 78,204 impacts for all concussed players. Linear acceleration, rotational acceleration, and head impact telemetry severity profile (HITsp) magnitudes were summed within five timeframes: the day of injury, three days prior to injury, seven days prior to injury, 30 days prior to injury, and prior in-season exposure. Logistic regressions were modeled to explain concussive events based on the singular linear acceleration, rotational acceleration, and HITsp event along with the calculated summations over time. Linear acceleration, rotational acceleration, and HITsp all produced significant models estimating concussion (p < 0.05). The strongest estimators of a concussive impact were the linear acceleration (OR = 1.040, p < 0.05), rotational acceleration (OR = 1.001, p < 0.05), and HITsp (OR = 1.003, p < 0.05) for the singular impact rather than any of the cumulative magnitude calculations. Moreover, no cumulative count measure was significant for linear or rotational acceleration. Results from this investigation support the growing literature indicating cumulative magnitude is not related to concussion likelihood. Cumulative magnitude is a simplistic measure of the total exposure sustained by a player over a given period. However, this measure is limited as it assumes the brain is a static structure unable to undergo self-repair. Future research should consider how biological recovery between impacts may influence concussion risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1985-1992
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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