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Dakota Midday: Youth Football Brain Injury Risk Study


According to the Brain Injury Association of America, an estimated 2.4 million children and adults in the United States sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. The association sets aside every March as Brain Injury Awareness Month.

In recent years, there’s been a growing concern about brain injury among football players and how concussions affect both short-term and long-term health. Thayne Munce, PhD is a former football player who’s been studying brain injury risk in youth football. He’s the associate director of the Sanford Sports Science Institute.

A major focus of Dr. Munce’s research is to investigate neurologic function and head impact exposure in youth football players to better understand the risk of brain injury in the sport. He authored a recent study on brain injury risk in youth football. The studied monitored 22 local youth football players ages 11 to 13 during a single season of 27 practices and 9 games. Each player wore sensors in his helmet which measured head-impact frequency, magnitude, duration and location. More than 6,000 head impacts were recorded, and found to be similar in magnitude and location to those in high school and college football but less frequent.

Dr. Munce joined Dakota Midday and discussed his brain injury risk research.

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