BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — After five years, researchers at Virginia Tech have completed the first published study on the risks and effects of concussions among youth football players.
While the scientific and athletic communities are overflowing with discussions about concussions in adult athletes, this new research project is a trailblazer in the study of youth athletes.
Researchers from Virginia Tech, Brown University, and Wake Forest University spent the last five years studying the risk of concussions among children between the ages of 9 and 14.
“The big thing we found is that youth, children and playing sports, have a much lower tolerance to head impact than adults,” says Stefan Duma, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech. “We’ve always sort of thought that, but this is the first time we actually have real data to prove it.”
According to the data, the tolerance rate for head accelerations among youth athletes is approximately 40 percent lower than that of adult athletes. However, researchers say that the data also reveals a relatively low risk for concussions among youth athletes.
“They’re very small, they don’t run very fast, the impacts are very low compared to high school and college,” Duma explains.
However, researchers say this data can apply to any high impact environment, which may lead to changes in safety rules or designs for protective gear among younger players in sports besides football.
Parents of athletes can even check out Virginia Tech’s helmet safety ratings for youth football as well as other sports like hockey or baseball.
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