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Investigation of head kinematics and brain strain response during soccer heading using a custom-fit instrumented mouthguard

Barnes-Wood, M., McCloskey, H., Connelly, S., Gilchrist, M. D., Annaidh, A. Ni and Theobald, P. S. ORCID: 2024. Investigation of head kinematics and brain strain response during soccer heading using a custom-fit instrumented mouthguard. Annals of Biomedical Engineering 52 , pp. 934-945. 10.1007/s10439-023-03430-8

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Association football, also known as soccer in some regions, is unique in encouraging its participants to intentionally use their head to gain a competitive advantage, including scoring a goal. Repetitive head impacts are now being increasingly linked to an inflated risk of developing long-term neurodegenerative disease. This study investigated the effect of heading passes from different distances, using head acceleration data and finite element modelling to estimate brain injury risk. Seven university-level participants wore a custom-fitted instrumented mouthguard to capture linear and angular acceleration-time data. They performed 10 headers within a laboratory environment, from a combination of short, medium, and long passes. Kinematic data was then used to calculate peak linear acceleration, peak angular velocity, and peak angular acceleration as well as two brain injury metrics: head injury criterion and rotational injury criterion. Six degrees of freedom acceleration-time data were also inputted into a widely accepted finite element brain model to estimate strain-response using mean peak strain and cumulative strain damage measure values. Five headers were considered to have a 25% concussion risk. Mean peak linear acceleration equalled 26 ± 7.9 g, mean peak angular velocity 7.20 ± 2.18 rad/s, mean peak angular acceleration 1730 ± 611 rad/s2, and 95th percentile mean peak strain 0.0962 ± 0.252. Some of these data were similar to brain injury metrics reported from American football, which supports the need for further investigation into soccer heading.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0090-6964
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 January 2024
Date of Acceptance: 21 December 2023
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2024 13:44

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