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Study says football players need more time between seasons to recover from head impacts

Penn State football spring practice number 11

Football players need more than six months of no-contact to properly recover from various forms of head trauma, a study by PLOS-ONE recently determined. At a time when we are learning more and more about the long-lasting effects of head trauma in football, could this one day change the approach at the college level when it comes to spring practices?

The Verge describes the procedure for conducting the study on head trauma and football players, which determine six out of 10 players showed signs of needing more time to recover from head trauma;

To study the effect of non-concussive, repetitive head impacts, researchers put accelerometers in the helmets of 10 University of Rochester football players. The scientists used these sensors to monitor the quantity and severity of the blows that the players suffered over the course of the 2011 season. They found that each player received between 431 and 1,850 impacts to the head during the regular season. And although none of these blows resulted in a concussion, they still caused mild brain injury. Moreover, six out of the 10 players continued to exhibit these signs at the end of a six month-long resting period.

Spring football games have gone into retirement at some schools, in part because of the fear of injuries and because of the added value placed on one more practice session. This study may not lead to the removal of spring football just yet, but it could help open the door for a conversation about potentially pushing spring practices back or to restructure how some are organized. The NCAA and schools tend to take head injury precautions seriously and there are already rules in place to reduce the risks associated with contact drills, but this study may be used as a reason for future changes to spring football.

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4 Responses to “Study says football players need more time between seasons to recover from head impacts”
  1. Deb says: Apr 17, 2014 9:39 PM

    These questions are so difficult to answer. Should players have more time to recover from head traumas during the off season? Apparently so, according to this study. But is limiting the amount of off-season contact making the game safer? Apparently not.

    In the last collective bargaining agreement, the NFLPA negotiated less contact during off-season practices and OTAs, and the result seems to be more in-season injuries. Trying to keep players from hitting high has led to more serious knee and leg injuries. I don’t know how best to address these issues, but hope the NCAA will be more thoughtful than the NFL tends to be. Knee-jerk rules aren’t the answer.

  2. soundsofsuccess7 says: Apr 17, 2014 10:50 PM

    Spring football needs to be non contact in shorts and shirts. You don’t need full pads in February.

  3. steeler1nation says: Apr 18, 2014 1:45 AM

    Consussions are so overblown today. The media loves this story.
    Back in my playing days, we played with grapes on our head.

  4. PanchoHerreraFanClub says: Apr 18, 2014 11:30 AM

    Back in my day colleges played 9 or 10 games with the good dozen or so getting a bowl game after a couple of months off. Heck, today high schools play a dozen before the playoffs! Of course, there are more injuries, players are bigger and faster and more protected (read can hit each other harder without fear of hurting themselves). Seriously, nobody really gives a darn about the players getting hurt as long as there is more money to be made.

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