WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Oct. 27, 2015 – Wake
Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers will join colleagues from longtime
collaborator Virginia Tech and two other universities in the largest and most
comprehensive biomedical study of youth football players conducted to date.
five-year project is being funded by a $3.3 million grant from the National
Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the federal National
Institutes of Health.
potential impact of this study is significant because there are more than 3
million youth football players across the country, which is about
three-quarters of all U.S. football players,” said Joel Stitzel, Ph.D., professor
and chair of biomedical engineering at Wake Forest Baptist.
sensors installed in helmets and – for the first time – mouth guards, the researchers
will track on-field head impacts and rotations experienced during both
practices and games by 9- and 10-year-old players on six youth league teams.
Forest Baptist, Virginia Tech and Brown University will each collect data from players
on two teams in their respective areas over the five years. The researchers
also will monitor the individual players until they reach age 14.
from the helmet and mouth guard sensors will be transmitted instantly to
researchers on the sidelines, monitoring all impact levels. All the teams’ practices
and games will be videotaped to match sensor data with visuals of on-field
impacts. The participating players also will undergo off-field neurocognitive
examinations, coordinated by University of Nebraska researchers.
this data during the next five years will allow for evidence-based decisions
across a range of applications, including improved clinical detection
techniques and potential ways to improve youth football helmet design,” said the
study’s primary investigator, Stefan Duma, Ph.D., professor and department head
of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech.
study builds upon previous studies on the various effects of head impacts on
youth and high school football players conducted by the Virginia Tech-Wake
Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.
research at Wake Forest Baptist is partially supported by $15,000 in additional
funding from the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. Since the study of the
head impacts in youth football began, the Childress Institute has provided
nearly $500,000 in support of the research.