Latest research in football - week 5 - 2019

As previous literature updates, I have performed a PubCrawler search looking for football articles in NCBI Medline (PubMed) and GenBank databases.

Following studies were retrieved for this week:

#1 Immediate effects and one-week follow-up after neuromuscular electric stimulation alone or combined with stretching on hamstrings extensibility in healthy football players with hamstring shortening
Reference: J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019 Jan;23(1):16-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2018.01.017. Epub 2018 Feb 2.
Authors: Espejo-Antúnez L, Carracedo-Rodríguez M, Ribeiro F, Venâncio J, De la Cruz-Torres B, Albornoz-Cabello M
Summary: The purpose was to assess the immediate and mid-term (after 7 days) effects of electric current combined with simultaneous muscle stretching (EME technique) per comparison to the isolated use of the same current (without applying simultaneous muscle stretching), over the hamstring extensibility in football players with hamstring shortening, and to estimate the clinical benefit of the interventions according to the muscular extensibility. Forty-eight participants were randomized to receive one session of EME technique (n = 26) or one session of the electrical current (EC) alone (n = 22). The measurement of the hamstrings extensibility through the active knee test was carried out before and immediately after each intervention and one week later. A significant interaction group x time was observed (F2,84 = 7.112, p = 0.001; partial eta squared = 0.145). The hamstrings extensibility changed significantly immediately after the EME technique (147.3° ± 16.4° to 153.5° ± 14.2°, p < 0.05), but not after the EC only (144.2 ± 10.2° to 141.7 ± 7.8°, p > 0.05). One week after the intervention no significant differences were found to the baseline values in both groups. The number needed to treat to prevent one new case of hamstring shortening was 3. The combination of electric current with simultaneous stretching is an effective technique to acutely increase the hamstring extensibility of football players with hamstring shortness.


#2 Sudden cardiac death in football players: Towards a new pre-participation algorithm
Reference: Exp Ther Med. 2019 Feb;17(2):1143-1148. doi: 10.3892/etm.2018.7041. Epub 2018 Nov 30.
Authors: Mavrogeni SI, Tsarouhas K, Spandidos DA, Kanaka-Gantenbein C, Bacopoulou F
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6327574/pdf/etm-17-02-1143.pdf
Summary: Athletic pre-participation screening is essential for minimizing the risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD) in athletes participating in either competitive or leisure sporting activities. The primary causes of SCD in young athletes (<35 years of age) include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congenital anomalies of the coronary artery and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Other abnormalities, such as malignant arrhythmia due to blunt trauma to the chest (commotio cordis), myocarditis, valvular disease, aortic rupture (in Marfan syndrome) and ion channelopathies (catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, Brugada syndrome, long or short QT syndrome), also contribute to a lesser degree to SCD. Currently, clinical assessment, electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiography are the cornerstones of the pre-participation athletic evaluation. However, their low sensitivity raises queries as regards the need for the application of more sophisticated modalities, such as cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). CMR offers precise biventricular assessment and is greatly reproducible without the inherent limitations of echocardiography; i.e., low quality of images due to the lack of appropriate acoustic window or operator's experience. Furthermore, myocardium replacement fibrosis, indicative of patients' increased risk for future cardiac events, can be effectively detected by late gadolinium enhanced (LGE) images, acquired 15 min post-contrast injection. Finally, diffuse myocardial fibrosis not identified by LGE, can also be detected by pre-contrast (native) T1, post-contrast T1 mapping and extracellular volume images, which provide detailed information about the underlying pathophysiologic background. Therefore, CMR is recommended in all football players with a positive family or personal history of syncope or SCD, abnormal/doubtful ECG or echocardiogram.


#3 Asthma and youth soccer: an investigation into the level of asthma awareness and training among youth soccer coaches
Reference: Open Access J Sports Med. 2019 Jan 15;10:17-31. doi: 10.2147/OAJSM.S182178. eCollection 2019.
Authors: Sadasivan C, Cave A
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6339450/pdf/oajsm-10-017.pdf
Summary: Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction which is common in asthmatic patients also occurs in individuals with no prior asthma diagnosis. Despite this and the fact that soccer is a high ventilation sport, there are no validated asthma management protocols in place for soccer coaches. This study aims to address 1) soccer coaches' current knowledge on asthma, 2) whether there is a need for asthma-related training, and 3) any barriers to administration of such training. A total of 2,300 volunteer youth soccer coaches from the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association (EMSA) were invited to participate in completing a 22-question online survey. The survey was open for 1 month from June 8, 2018, to July 8, 2018. There was a response rate of 22% (513 of 2,300). Respondents were on average, inexperienced coaches, coached younger age groups, and approximately one-third of respondents had personal experience with asthma (either themselves or their child had asthma). 93% of respondents had not received any asthma-related training at any coaching level, whether it be from EMSA or the Alberta Soccer Association. Coaches had strong knowledge on how to treat asthma attacks, but mixed levels of knowledge on asthma attack prevention. Experienced coaches were better at identifying the number of players with asthma on their team and the number of asthma-related incidents they had encountered as coaches. Coaches demonstrated a receptive attitude toward receiving asthma-related training, with 91% of respondents saying training would be beneficial and 69% of respondents saying training should be mandatory. The results of this study indicate that soccer coaches have limited knowledge regarding asthma management, acknowledge a need for asthma-related training, and are willing to participate in and could benefit from educational interventions as it pertains to their roles as coaches.


#4 Electrocardiographic and echocardiographic evaluation of a large cohort of peri-pubertal soccer players during pre-participation screening
Reference: Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2019 Jan 29:2047487319826312. doi: 10.1177/2047487319826312. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Calò L, Martino A, Tranchita E, Sperandii F, Guerra E, Quaranta F, Parisi A, Nigro A, Sciarra L, Ruvo E, Casasco M, Pigozzi F
Summary: The early diagnosis of cardiac abnormalities in young athletes may be helpful not only to identify subjects potentially at risk of sudden cardiac death but also to prevent stress-related cardiac dysfunction and cardiovascular events during the life of these subjects. The aim of our study was to investigate the prevalence of cardiac abnormalities in a population of young male soccer players undergoing pre-participation screening through electrocardiogram and trans-thoracic echocardiography. All consecutive male football players undergoing pre-participation screening comprehensive of medical history, physical examination, 12-lead electrocardiogram and trans-thoracic echocardiography at the FMSI Sport Medicine Institute in Rome between January 2008-March 2009 were enrolled in the study. Overall, 2261 consecutive young athletes aged 12.4 ± 2.6 years were evaluated. Training-unrelated electrocardiogram abnormalities were observed in 65 (2.9%) athletes. Abnormal trans-thoracic echocardiography was observed in 102 athletes (4.5%), including two cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, eight of mild left ventricular hypertrophy, six of mild left ventricular dilation and 17 of bicuspid aortic valve. An abnormal electrocardiogram was associated with anomalous trans-thoracic echocardiography in 11/65 (16.9%) cases. All athletes requiring sport disqualification were identified by electrocardiogram. Notably, among 2216 athletes with a normal electrocardiogram, 91 had abnormal trans-thoracic echocardiography, including six cases of left ventricular dilation and six of ventricular hypertrophy. In a wide population of peri-pubertal male athletes, evaluation of the electrocardiogram identified all cardiac diseases requiring sport disqualification. Trans-thoracic echocardiography alone allowed the identification of cardiac abnormalities potentially leading to cardiomyopathies or major cardiovascular events over time.


#5 Ecological and Construct Validity of a Repeated Sprint Test in Male Youth Soccer Players
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Jan 23. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003047. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Fernandes-Da-Silva J, Castagna C, Teixeira AS, Carminatti LJ, Francini L, Póvoas SCA, Antonacci Guglielmo LG
Summary: This study aimed to examine the relationship between a repeated sprint ability (RSA) test (5 bouts of 30-m sprints interspersed by 30 seconds of recovery) and match-related physical performance in male youth soccer players. Although 60 outfield players were evaluated, only data from players who participated in the full matches (n = 39) were retained (8 central defenders, 7 external defenders, 8 central midfielders, 8 external midfielders, and 8 forwards). To verify the ecological validity of this RSA protocol, the association between the best (RSAbest) and mean (RSAmean) sprint time in the 5 × 30-m and physical match performance during friendly youth soccer games was examined. Physical match demands were assessed using global positioning system technology (10 Hz) considering distance covered in selected arbitrary speed categories. The absolute speed thresholds were the same for all the players. Players were categorized into 2 groups based on the 5 × 30-m performance: RSAmean times below (i.e., faster) and above (i.e., slower) the median value. Players with faster RSAmean times covered significantly more distance sprinting during friendly matches (606 ± 204 m, +47.0%; t = 4.953; effect size = 1.88, 1.24; 2.52, p ≤ 0.001) compared to their slower counterparts (322 ± 145 m). A large negative correlation (r = -0.63, -0.77; -0.44, p ≤ 0.001) was found between RSAbest time (4.59 ± 0.27 seconds) and match sprint distance (457 ± 229 m). Likewise, RSAmean time (4.76 ± 0.25 seconds) was also largely associated (r = -0.60, -0.75; -0.39; p ≤ 0.001) with in-game sprinting performance. The results of this study provided evidence to support the construct and ecological validity of the 5 × 30-m protocol in male youth soccer players. Furthermore, differences in 5 × 30-m performance explained the amount of sprinting activity performed during the match.


#6 Accuracy of Anthropometric Equations to Estimate DXA-Derived Skeletal Muscle Mass in Professional Male Soccer Players
Reference: J Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp). 2019 Jan 1;2019:4387636. doi: 10.1155/2019/4387636. eCollection 2019.
Authors: González-Mendoza RG, Gaytán-González A, Jiménez-Alvarado JA, Villegas-Balcázar M, Jáuregui-Ulloa EE, Torres-Naranjo F, López-Taylor JR
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6332936/pdf/JSM2019-4387636.pdf
Summary: Several anthropometric equations that estimate skeletal muscle mass (SMM) have been published, but their applicability and accuracy among athletes are still uncertain. The purpose was to assess the accuracy of different anthropometric equations that estimate SMM in professional male soccer players, as compared to dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) as the reference method. In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated 179 professional male soccer players aged between 18 and 37 years. Anthropometric measurements (height, body weight, skinfold thicknesses, and girths) and a DXA whole body scan were performed the same day for each participant, and SMM was estimated with nine anthropometric equations (Heymsfield, Martin, Doupe, Kerr, Drinkwater, Lee, De Rose, and two equations published by Kuriyan). To determine differences between SMM estimated with anthropometric equations and SMM evaluated with DXA, a Kruskal-Wallis test was performed using Dunn's test as post hoc. The significance level was set at p < 0.05. We calculated the mean difference and 95% limits of agreement for the analyzed equations (Equation - DXA). Only Heymsfield's and Lee's equations showed no significant differences with DXA. Heymsfield's equation had the smallest mean difference (-0.17 kg), but wider limits of agreement with DXA (-6.61 to 6.94 kg). Lee's equation had a small mean difference (1.10 kg) but narrower limits of agreement with DXA (-1.83 to 4.03 kg). In this study, the prediction equation published by Lee et al. showed the best agreement with DXA and is able to estimate SMM accurately in professional male soccer players.


#7 Management of concussion in soccer
Reference: Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2019 Jan 28. doi: 10.1007/s00701-019-03807-6. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Hubertus V, Marklund N, Vajkoczy P
Summary: When participating in contact sports, (mild) head trauma is a common incident-observed in both professional and amateur sports. When head trauma results in transient neurological impairment, a sports-related concussion has occurred. Acute concussion, repetitive concussions, as well as cumulative "sub-concussive" head impacts may increase the risk of developing cognitive and behavioral deficits for athletes, as well as accelerated cerebral degeneration. While this concept has been well established for classic contact sports like American Football, Rugby, or Boxing, there is still an awareness gap for the role of sports-related concussion in the context of the world's most popular sport-Soccer. Here, we review the relevance of sport-related concussion for Soccer as well as its diagnosis and management. Finally, we provide insight into future directions for research in this field. Soccer fulfills the criteria of a contact sport and is characterized by a high incidence of concussion. There is ample evidence that these events cause functional and structural cerebral disorders. Furthermore, heading, as a repeat sub-concussive impact, has been linked to structural brain changes and neurocognitive impairment. As a consequence, recommendations for the diagnosis and management of concussion in soccer have been formulated by consensus groups. In order to minimize the risk of repetitive concussion in soccer the rapid and reliable side-line diagnosis of concussion with adoption of a strict remove-from-play protocol is essential, followed by a supervised, graduated return-to-play protocol. Recent studies, however, demonstrate that adherence to these recommendations by players, coaches, clubs, and officials is insufficient, calling for stricter enforcement. In addition, future research to solidify the pathophysiological relevance of concussion for soccer athletes seems to be needed. Advanced neuroimaging and neurochemical biomarker analyses (e.g. S100β, tau and neurofilament light (NfL)) may assist in detecting concussion-related structural brain changes and selecting athletes at risk for irreversible damage. Sports-related concussion represents a genuine neurosurgical field of interest. Given the high socioeconomic relevance, neurosurgeons should get involved in prevention and management of concussion in soccer.


#8 Training Loads and RSA and Aerobic Performance Changes During the Preseason in Youth Soccer Squads
Reference: J Hum Kinet. 2018 Dec 31;65:235-248. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2018-0032. eCollection 2018 Dec.
Authors: Cetolin T, Teixeira AS, Netto AS, Haupenthal A, Nakamura FY, Guglielmo LGA, da Silva JF
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341967/pdf/hukin-65-235.pdf
Summary: The aims of this study were to compare the internal training load (ITL) in soccer players of two competitive age groups (under-15 [U-15] and under-19 [U-19]) during an 8-week preseason training period and compare the associated changes in physical performance measures. Eighteen U-15 and twelve U-19 players were monitored over an 8-week period during the preseason phase. The ITL was monitored using the session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) method. Before and after the preseason period, physical performance was assessed by best (RSAbest) and mean (RSAmean) times in a repeated sprint ability (RSA) test and peak velocity derived from the Carminatti test (PVT-CAR). Total weekly ITL increased with age (U-15: 13770 ± 874 AU vs. U-19: 33584 ± 2506 AU; p < 0.001). In addition, U-19 players perceived training sessions as heavier than U-15 players (6.1 ± 0.3 vs. 5.3 ± 0.3 AU, respectively; p < 0.001). After the preseason period, very likely to almost certainly positive changes were observed for all performance measures in both age groups. However, the U-15 group had possibly superior gains in RSAbest (+1.40%, 90%CL -0.29 to 3.05, with ES = 0.35) and likely higher effects in RSAmean (+1.89%, 90%CL 0.04 to 3.70, with ES = 0.53) and PVT-CAR (+2.71%, 90%CL 0.35 to 5.01, with ES = 0.37) compared to the U-19 group. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that the U-19 group accumulate higher total weekly ITLs than the U-15 group during the preseason phase due to longer and heavier training sessions. However, the U-15 group obtained superior gains in soccer-specific physical abilities while accumulating half the total ITLs during lighter training sessions.


#9 Relative Age Effect and Long-Term Success in the Spanish Soccer and Basketball National Teams
Reference: J Hum Kinet. 2018 Dec 31;65:197-204. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2018-0027. eCollection 2018 Dec.
Authors: López de Subijana C, Lorenzo J
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341957/pdf/hukin-65-197.pdf
Summary: The aims of this study were: i) to analyze whether relative age effect occurs in the athletes of the junior national teams and professional athletes in Spain in general and in soccer and basketball, and ii) to compare the long-term success of the players selected for the junior national team between these sports. The samples for this study were Spanish professional soccer (n = 461) and basketball (n = 250) players in the 2013-2014 premier league and players from the junior Spanish soccer (i.e., n = 273; U-17: n = 107; U-19: n = 166) and basketball (i.e., n = 240; U-18: n = 120, U-16: n = 120) teams that classified to play in the European Championships (from 2004 to 2013). Junior players (42.3%) were more frequently born in the 1st quarter of the year than the professional players (30.7%) (χ2(3) = 30.07; p = .001; Vc = .157). This was found in both basketball (χ2(3) = 12.2.; p = .007; Vc = .158) and soccer (χ2(3) = 20.13; p < .001; Vc = .166). Long-term success is more frequent in soccer, where 59.9% of the juniors selected for the national team played later in the premier league, while in basketball that percentage was 39.6% (χ2(1) = 14.64; p < .001; Vc = .201). On the other hand, 79.4% and 39.8% of the professional soccer and basketball players had been previously selected for junior national teams (χ2(1) = 60.2; p < .001; Vc = .386), respectively. The talent selection process should be reviewed as players born in the second half of the year have fewer opportunities to stand out.


#10 Effects of the Pitch Surface on Displacement of Youth Players During Soccer Match-Play
Reference: J Hum Kinet. 2018 Dec 31;65:175-185. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2018-0046. eCollection 2018 Dec.
Authors: Brito Â, Roriz P, Silva P, Duarte R, Garganta J
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341947/pdf/hukin-65-175.pdf
Summary: The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of different pitch surfaces (artificial turf, natural turf and dirt field) on positioning and displacement of young soccer players (age: 13.4 ± 0.5 yrs; body height: 161.82 ± 7.52 cm; body mass: 50.79 ± 7.22 kg and playing experience: 3.5 ± 1.4 yrs). Data were collected using GPS units which allowed to calculate spatial distribution variability, assessed by measuring entropy of individual distribution maps (ShannEn). Ellipsoidal areas (m2) representing players' displacement on the pitch, centred on the average players' positional coordinates, were also calculated, with axes corresponding to the standard deviations of the displacement in the longitudinal and lateral directions. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate differences between pitch surfaces and across players' positions. There was significant effect in positioning (η2 = 0.146; p < 0.001) and displacement (η2 = 0.063; p < 0.05) by the players between pitch surfaces. A dirt field condition induced an increase in the players' movement variability, while players' displacement was more restricted when playing on artificial turf. Also, there were significant effects on positioning (η2 = 0.496; p < 0.001) and displacement (η2 = 0.339; p < 0.001) across players' positions. Central midfielders presented the greatest movement variability and displacement while fullbacks showed the lowest variability. Subsequently, the results may contribute to implement strategies that optimise players' performance in different surface conditions.


#11 Work-rate Analysis of Substitute Players in Professional Soccer: Analysis of Seasonal Variations
Reference: J Hum Kinet. 2018 Dec 31;65:165-174. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2018-0025. eCollection 2018 Dec.
Authors: Padrón-Cabo A, Rey E, Vidal B, García-Nuñez J
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341962/pdf/hukin-65-165.pdf
Summary: The aims of this study were to evaluate physical performance of substitute players versus those replaced or completing the entire match, determine physical performance of substitute players across different playing positions and examine variations in match-related running performance in substitute players throughout the entire competitive season. The sample was composed of 943 observations of professional players who participated in the first division of the Spanish League (La Liga) during the 2014-2015 season. The players were divided into three different groups: players who completed the entire match (n = 519), players who were replaced (n = 212) and substitute players (n = 212). Substitute players covered greater distances at medium and high intensity compared to the players who played the entire match and those who were replaced. Position-specific trends indicated that attackers and central midfielder increased the distance covered at high-intensity running compared to their peers who played the whole match. During the competitive season, it was observed that substitute players attained greater match running performance during the mid-season period, allowing them to cover more distance for different variables of running performance compared to the start and end of the season.


#12 Analysis of elite soccer players' performance before and after signing a new contract
Reference: PLoS One. 2019 Jan 25;14(1):e0211058. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211058. eCollection 2019.
Authors: Gómez MÁ, Lago C, Gómez MT, Furley P
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6347186/pdf/pone.0211058.pdf
Summary: The aim of the current study was to analyse performance differences of football players 2-years prior and the year after signing a new contract (the following year) while taking playing position, nationality, player's role, team ability, and age into account. The sample was comprised of 249 players (n = 109 defenders, n = 113 midfielders; and n = 27 forwards) from four of the major European Leagues (Bundesliga, English FA Premier League, Ligue 1, and La Liga) during the seasons 2008 to 2015. The dependent variables studied were: shooting accuracy, defense (the sum of defensive actions, tackles, blocks, and interceptions), yellow cards, red cards, passing accuracy, tackle success, and minutes played per match. Two-step cluster analysis allowed classifying the sample into three groups of defenders (national important, foreign important, and less important players) and four groups of midfielders and forwards (national important, foreign important, national less important, and foreign less important players). Magnitude Based Inference (MBI) was used to test the differences between player's performances during the years of analyses. The main results (very likely and most likely effects) showed better performance in the year prior to signing a new contract than the previous year for foreign important defenders (decreased number of red cards), national important midfielders (increased number of minutes played), foreign important forwards (increased minutes played and defense), and national important forwards (increased minutes played). In addition, performance was lower the year after signing the contract compared to the previous one for less important defenders (decreasing defense), national less important midfielders (decreased minutes played), and foreign less important forwards (decreased defense). On the other hand, the players showed better performance in defense and more minutes played the year after signing the contract for less important defenders, national less important midfielders, and foreign less important forwards. These results may assist coaches to decide on when a new contract should be signed or the duration of the contract.


#13 Assessing the Validity of the MyJump2 App for Measuring Different Jumps in Professional Cerebral Palsy Football Players: An Experimental Study
Reference: JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019 Jan 30;7(1):e11099. doi: 10.2196/11099.
Authors: Coswig V, Silva AACE, Barbalho M, Faria FR, Nogueira CD, Borges M, Buratti JR, Vieira IB, Román FJL, Gorla JI
Download link: https://mhealth.jmir.org/2019/1/e11099/pdf
Summary: Vertical jumps can be used to assess neuromuscular status in sports performance. This is particularly important in Cerebral Palsy Football (CP Football) because players are exposed to high injury risk, but it may be complicated because the gold standard for assessing jump performance is scarce in field evaluation. Thus, field techniques, such as mobile apps, have been proposed as an alternative method for solving this problem. This study aims to evaluate the reliability of the measures of the MyJump2 app to assess vertical jump performance in professional CP Football. We assessed 40 male CP Football athletes (age 28.1 [SD 1.4] years, weight 72.5 [SD 6.2] kg, and height 176 [SD 4.2] cm) through the countermovement jump (CMJ) and squat jump (SJ) using a contact mat. At the same time, we assessed the athletes using the MyJump2 app. There were no significant differences between the instruments in SJ height (P=.12) and flight time (P=.15). Additionally, there were no significant differences between the instruments for CMJ in jump height (P=.16) and flight time (P=.13). In addition, it was observed that there were significant and strong intraclass correlations in all SJ variables varying from 0.86 to 0.89 (both P<.001), which was classified as "almost perfect." Similar results were observed in all variables from the CMJ, varying from 0.92 to 0.96 (both P ≤.001). We conclude that the MyJump2 app presents high validity and reliability for measuring jump height and flight time of the SJ and CMJ in CP Football athletes.


#14 Does the Environment Influence the Frequency of Concussion Incidence in Professional Football?
Reference: Cureus. 2018 Nov 23;10(11):e3627. doi: 10.7759/cureus.3627.
Authors: Haider S, Kaye-Kauderer HP, Maniya AY, Dai JB, Li AY, Post AF, Sobotka S, Adams R, Gometz A, Lovell MR, Choudhri TF
Download link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6347446/pdf/cureus-0010-00000003627.pdf
Summary: Background Sports-related concussion is a major cause of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). It is possible that environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, and stadium's altitude, may influence the overall incidence of concussions during a game. Purpose To examine the impact of environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and dew point, on concussion incidence. Methods Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) FRONTLINE Concussion Watch was used to collect injury data on 32 NFL teams during regular season games from 2012 to 2015. Weather data points were collected from Weather Underground. Concussion incidence per game, the probability of a concussion during a game, and a difference in mean game-day temperature, humidity, dew point, and barometric pressure between concussion and concussion-free games were calculated. Our analysis included t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), multivariate correlation tests, and logistic and Poisson regression.  Results Overall, 564 concussions were reported. There were 411 games with concussions and 549 games without concussions. We observed a significant decrease in concussion incidence with increasing temperature, both when the temperature was divided into 20oF increments or into quartiles (p = 0.005 and p = 0.002, respectively). We identified a statistically significant lower mean-game day temperature in concussion games compared to concussion-free games (p < 0.0006). We also observed a significant decrease in the incidence of concussion per game with increasing dew point. There was no significant difference in concussion incidence in barometric pressure and humidity. The logistic regression model predicted a decrease in the probability of a concussion in games with higher temperatures and dew points. Conclusions National Football League (NFL) players experienced an increased risk of concussion during football games played in colder temperatures and at lower dew points. Further research on environmental effects on concussions may aid in improving player safety in football leagues.


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