To explore the potential utility of head acceleration event (HAE) measurements to augment identification of players for further concussion screening in non-helmeted contact sport.
Prospective observational pilot study.
210 (118 female) professional Australian football players in 2017 season.
Players wore the X-Patch® accelerometer for one match each with data collected across 14 matches. Players with HAEs above thresholds associated with concussion, 95 g (males) or 85.5 g (females), were compared to players identified to have suspected concussion by club personnel during the inspected matches. Video review of matches was undertaken by a physician blinded to HAEs to identify players with concussive signs.
Among 26 players (50% female) with HAEs above threshold, two players were screened for concussion. Of the remaining 24 players, nine were not visible on video at the HAE time, six sustained verifiable head impacts, and nine sustained verifiable body impacts with no head impacts. Among 184 players with HAEs below threshold, five players were screened.
Players were identified to have head impacts and suspected concussion in the absence of HAEs above threshold. Use of X-Patch® was not sufficiently reliable for identifying players for further concussion screening in professional Australian football. Video review of head impacts remains essential in concussion screening.
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