First in a Series of Articles Analyzing Concussions in Professional Football
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HEAD INJURY, FOOTBALL, NEUROSURGERY
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Lippincott Williams and Wilkins today announced that the October issue of Neurosurgery will feature the first in a series of several articles that examine concussion injuries to National Football League (NFL) players.



Newswise - Lippincott Williams and Wilkins (LWW) today announced that the October issue of Neurosurgery will feature the first in a series of several articles that examine concussion injuries to National Football League (NFL) players. This five-year scientific study, the first ever to replicate and measure conditions leading to concussions during professional football games, was commissioned by the NFL and NFL Charities (funded by the league and its Player's Association), and directed by the NFL Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) Chairman, Elliot J. Pellman, M.D.

Information for the articles was provided by MTBI Committee members, which include representatives from several NFL Societies, NFL equipment managers, as well as experts in the fields of traumatic brain injury, biomechanics, scientific research and epidemiology. Also appearing in the October issue of Neurosurgery are editorial and op/ed submissions by Michael L.J. Apuzzo, M.D., editor-in-chief, Neurosurgery, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Dr. Pellman.

"In recent years, we've witnessed increased attention on the dangers and ramifications of concussions in professional football. In the NFL, several high-profile marquee players such as Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Al Toon and Merrill Hoge have retired because of the risk of permanent damage from repeated concussions," said Dr. Pellman. He added, "The publication of this report marks a very significant milestone for professional football in the preservation of its athletes."

The first article provides a detailed analysis of NFL game-day video showing significant head injuries and concussions to its players, and of the laboratory reconstruction of responses related to concussions. A combination of video surveillance and laboratory reconstruction of game impacts was used to evaluate concussions.

182 cases were obtained on video for analysis between 1996 and 2001. The reconstruction of head impacts in professional football was based on video recordings by several broadcast cameras during NFL games. Accordingly, a cinematographic analysis was developed to determine the speed at which the players were moving relative to each other, prior to colliding. For those videos in which analyzing the 3D impact velocity was feasible, a laboratory setup with crash dummies was created to re-enact the game impact.

Results from the aforementioned video analysis found that 61 percent of the impacts involved helmet-to-helmet hits and that the facemask portion of the helmet was involved 29 percent of the time; the rest involved the helmet shell.

Another component of the analysis focused on thirty-one incidents for which at least two camera angles were available. This process provided the researchers with the necessary information with which to calculate the speed of the impact, as well as perform three-dimensional laboratory reconstructions using helmeted crash-test dummies.

The results indicate that concussions generally resulted from "translational acceleration," meaning that the head moved in a straight line, rather than from rotation. Additionally, it appeared that most concussions occurred when the player was hit on the side of the helmet, facemask, or fell on the back of the helmet. Further, as a result of this first phase of research, the committee advised that additional tests are needed to assess the performance of helmets in reducing the risk of concussions in high velocity collisions.

"Neurosurgery offers leading doctors and researchers a window into the contemporary field of neurosurgery, and as such, the journal is pleased to deliver this first time look into the cause and effect of concussions in the NFL," said Dr. Apuzzo. "By commissioning this research, the NFL has made a significant investment in the health and well-being of its players. The results of this collaboration will undoubtedly affect not just professional football players, but all athletes of all ages, in a variety of sports."

Subsequent reports, scheduled to appear in the December and January issues of Neurosurgery, respectively, will focus on the specific types of helmet impacts causing concussions, on the most vulnerable positions, and most frequent signs and symptoms of concussions in NFL players.

About the Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
The Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries was created in 1994 by the Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) in response to safety concerns regarding concussions in professional football. The Committee includes representatives from the NFL Team Physicians Society, NFL Athletic Trainers Society, NFL equipment managers and scientific experts in the area of traumatic brain injury, basic science research and epidemiology. The Committee's mission is to scientifically investigate mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) in the NFL.

About Neurosurgery
Neurosurgery, the Official Journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, is the most complete window on the contemporary field of neurosurgery. Members of the Congress and non-member subscribers receive 3,000 pages per year packed with the very latest science, technology, and medicine, not to mention full-text online access to the world's most complete, up-to-the-minute neurosurgery resource. For professionals aware of the rapid pace of developments in the field, Neurosurgery is nothing short of indispensable.

About LWW
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) is a leading international publisher of professional health information resources for physicians, nurses, specialized clinicians and students. LWW publishes nearly 275 periodicals and 1,500 books in more than 100 disciplines, as well as content-based sites and online corporate and customer services. LWW is an operating company of Wolters Kluwer Health, a cluster of Wolters Kluwer NV, a leading worldwide publishing and information services company with 17,000 employees and operations in 26 countries.



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