Do Head Injury Biomechanics Predict Concussion Clinical Recovery in College American Football Players?

CARE Consortium Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Identifying the associations between head impact biomechanics and clinical recovery may inform better head impact monitoring procedures and identify athletes who may benefit from early treatments aimed to enhance recovery. The purpose of this study was to test whether head injury biomechanics are associated with clinical recovery of symptom severity, balance, and mental status, as well as symptom resolution time (SRT) and return-to-participation (RTP) time. We studied 45 college American football players (n = 51 concussions) who sustained an incident concussion while participating in a multi-site study. Player race/ethnicity, prior concussion, medical history, position, body mass index, event type, and impact location were covariates in our multivariable analyses. Multivariable negative binomial regression models analyzed associations between our study outcomes and (1) injury-causing linear and rotational head impact severity, (2) season repetitive head impact exposure (RHIE), and (3) injury day RHIE. Median SRT was 6.1 days (IQR 5.8 days, n = 45) and median RTP time was 12.3 days (IQR 7.8 days, n = 36) across our study sample. RTP time was 86% (Ratio 1.86, 95% CI [1.05, 3.28]) longer in athletes with a concussion history. Offensive players had SRTs 49% shorter than defensive players (Ratio 0.51, 95% CI [0.29, 0.92]). Per-unit increases in season RHIE were associated with 22% longer SRT (Ratio 1.22, 95% CI [1.09, 1.36]) but 28% shorter RTP time (Ratio 0.72, 95% CI [0.56, 0.93]). No other head injury biomechanics predicted injury recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2555-2565
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Angular
  • Head impact sensors
  • Injury severity
  • Mechanics
  • NCAA-DOD CARE Consortium


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