Athletes in contact sports are exposed to repetitive impacts as an inherent part of sport. There is concern over the accumulative effect; however, much is still unknown regarding their short-term effects. This study investigated impact accumulation and outcomes over three seasons (2015, 2017, 2019) in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players. Impacts were recorded using helmet accelerometers, and virtual reality testing (VR) was done across the season. Incidence rates for impacts (total; ≥25 G to <80 G; ≥80 G) all significantly differed by season (p < 0.05). VR scores changed across the seasons, specifically significant decreases in spatial memory (p < 0.05) in 2015, significant changes in balance and spatial memory (p < 0.05) in 2017, and no significant changes in 2019. Linear regressions predicting VR change score by impact incidence rate were nonsignificant. Monitoring exposure to impacts and changes in outcomes is useful; however, results are fluid, and many factors could indirectly have protective effects on athletes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation