Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Study Spotlight: Full Contact Practice and Injury in College Football

There is a trend, especially in the higher levels of football to reduce the amount of contact that players are taking during the week.  With concussions being at the forefront of medical news and injury rates skyrocketing overall less contact seems to be the key.  This study takes a look at that with one team over a 4 year period and the results are interesting.

What They Did: 
This group of researchers took a look at the epidemiology of injury with a team over the course of four seasons.  They took a look at injuries and athlete injury exposures.  Injury rates were then correlated with the weekly exposures to full contact practices, total practices, formal scrimmages, and games.

What They Found:
They found that decreased exposure to full-contact practice may decrease the incidence of practice injuries and practice concussions however they found that game injury rates were over 6 times great than practice injury rates.  They also found that game injury rates had an inverse correlation with full-contact practice.

What It All Means:
It seems pretty intuitive that if you decrease the amount of contact in practice you will have less injuries and this study backs that intuition up.  What is interesting about this is that many teams are looking to decrease contact during the week and try and get people feeling more fresh for the weekend games this study shows that decreasing contact in the week leads to an increase likelihood of injury on the weekend.  It is kind of a double edge sword when you look at it and I personally believe it comes down fundamentals that are being taught early but also during practice.  A lot of injuries can be avoided if things are performed correctly through all training.

Might be a tough call for a coach.

Link: Full Contact Practice and Injury in College Football

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