More can be done to prevent head injuries in sports
ACT Head Impact Tracker. Because you should know. #heisACTingonit
ACT Head Impact Tracker. Because you should know. #heisACTingonit
Frequent head impacts occur in multiple sports, at all levels, and affect all genders and ages alike. Make no mistake, head impacts are not “a dedicated challenge” for few sports like American Football, boxing, ice-hockey and rugby. Head Impacts are also very much present in sports like football, basketball, handball, floorball, cycling, skating, scooting, equestrian sports, Alpine sports, motor sports and many, many more.
Head impacts may cause Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
and contribute to variety of brain diseases.
There is frustratingly little the modern medicine can do to them,
so things should not go that far. There is no medication, or cure.
Prevention is the key.
And it all starts with data.
THAT’S WHY WE CREATED ACT HEAD IMPACT TRACKER.
Making sports healthier, safer and more fun is quite simple actually.
There are 3 things you have to manage:
1. Number of head impacts
2. Magnitude of head impacts
3. Frequency of head impacts
Decrease these three things on all athletes and across their whole pathway.
You can do it. Data from ACT Head Impact Tracker will help you.
Was the head impacted? How hard was the impact? Who was impacted? When did it happen? What is your impact history? When was your last impact? What is the time between the impacts? How frequently do you get impacts? How many impacts have you had today/this week/this month/this season?
There is no clear consensus of a clear-cut danger limit as expressed in linear acceleration (g-force), or that of angular speed (rad/s) nor Impact g-load. However, in many studies acceleration/deceleration under 40g have been considered likely not to cause permanent damage, but it can be extrapolated that the probability of permanent damage starts to increase in impacts within the range of 40-60g and higher. This when considering individual and infrequent impacts.
Rule of thumb: The more violent the forces, the bigger the chance damage occurs.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and concussions are cumulative in nature and even mild concussions can result in serious long-term problems, especially if an athlete returns to play too soon or has a history of previous concussions. Researchers from the University College London Cancer Institute also suggest that head trauma could put patients at four times more of a risk of glioma, aggressive type of brain tumor. Studies also suggest that it is possible that repeated head impacts can amount to subtle and cumulative brain changes, even if there are no concussions. A study by the University of Glasgow in 2019 found former footballers were three and a half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative diseases..
Rule of thumb: Brain needs its time to heal. Ensure it gets it.
When you compare athletes data to one another and combine it, you’ll get even more information to improve athletes’ health, wellbeing and performance:
Which players are at the biggest risk (most impacts / biggest impacts / most frequent impacts)? Which positions played have more impacts than others? Who in those positions played is getting more impacts than their peers? What are the most hazardous events? Which drills cause most load and how to modify them? How to improve the techniques to decrease the impact load on a head? What is the difference between the teams, where is the biggest need for actions regarding? Which actions, restrictions and procedures should be applied to decrease the head impact load? Are the restrictions and procedures complied with (f ex. number of headers, size of headers, remove from pitch after an impact, etc.)? Are the restrictions and procedures applied effective and the trends descending in number of impacts, magnitude of impacts, frequency of impacts, etc. ?
A whole lot can be done to take down the risk and head impact load for the athletes. Educate on the issue; Increase awareness and understandings, Underline the importance; Act on risks; Modify drills and trainings; Improve techniques and relevant muscular system; Set actions, restrictions and procedures and follow their compliancy; Measure the efficiency of actions taken; Aim for ever decreasing head impact load.
Rule of thumb: Improve the awareness and understanding, advocate the change in attitude and behaviour.
It is not just about the athletes, there may be other contributing factors to the incidents. The conditions, weather, protective equipments, fixture and fittings where the athletes train and compete may play a role too. Do you know which are hazardous conditions, fixture and fittings,for example? Where they are located and if they are properly addressed? Rules and referees as enforcers to them are playing a crucial role. Do you know if the referees see and act upon the incidents as they should? Disciplinary actions should be strict and send a loud message that all those who intentionally endanger the health and safety of other athletes will be acted upon. Are the events in the different levels and age groups reaching the attention of relevant authorities? Could simple and easy to use objective data and tools, like video and ACT Head Impact Trackers, help to getting visibility and transparency to the critical events no matter the level played?
Rule of thumb: Ensure safe environment and sport for everyone. No-one should fear for their health or safety when they go out there to play.
We have been very fortunate to work with the best in class in our development and testing.
Our promise: We continue working hard every day to become ever better in providing objective, relevant and actionable information on forces acting on a head.
Your promise: Use the data to proactively improve the health, well-being and performance of athletes in short, medium and long-term.
Take it from them. Here’s what some of our users have to say.
“As a coach it is my responsibility to look after the players’ health and well-being too. Some players have more aggressive or head first to every situation style, which leads them having more head impacts. When I get objective data and can compare that to other players’ data for confirmation – takes away the guessing and guestimation and gives me good tools to address the issue with the risk players.”
Head coach, football Academy U18
“I can follow up my players on the pitch and will get information when something happens. It is usually quite challenging to visually observe such events, and try to estimate what kind of forces was acting on an event. Now I can get objective data to back up my observations and decisions made regarding.”
Physiotherapist, men’s elite ice-hockey team
“As a parent who reads the news and well understand that sports my kids are attending to posses a great risk for injuries, I’m absolutely relieved to finally have something like this available! I need to know these events will not go unnoticed and will be acted upon. It should be one of all sports’ main objectives to make them as safe as possible for every one involved. And there, head safety should be number 1.”
Mom of one, small junior football / cycling / scooting
”It is very difficult to estimate the head impacts, especially those caused by a puck, to ice-hockey goalies. Now I can get objective measurement data to improve my understanding and a new tool to my belt as a coach.”
Ice-hockey goalie coach, different age groups
“There is more and more news regarding the head impacts in sports, but still not too much done to address them properly and take minimizing the number of head injuries as an objective. We see this as a potential positive initiative to really step up our game and start acting on head impacts. It is also likely to increase the appeal of our sport amongst the players and their families.”
Head of a sport country association