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Development of a Concussion Risk Function for a Youth Population Using Head Linear and Rotational Acceleration.

  • Campolettano, Eamon T1
  • Gellner, Ryan A2
  • Smith, Eric P3
  • Bellamkonda, Srinidhi4
  • Tierney, Casey T4
  • Crisco, Joseph J4
  • Jones, Derek A5
  • Kelley, Mireille E5
  • Urban, Jillian E5
  • Stitzel, Joel D5
  • Genemaras, Amaris6
  • Beckwith, Jonathan G6
  • Greenwald, Richard M6
  • Maerlender, Arthur C7
  • Brolinson, Per Gunnar8
  • Duma, Stefan M2
  • Rowson, Steven2
  • 1 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.
  • 3 Department of Statistics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.
  • 4 Department of Orthopaedics, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 5 Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
  • 6 Simbex, Lebanon, NH, USA. , (Lebanon)
  • 7 Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, USA.
  • 8 Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, VA, USA.
Published Article
Annals of Biomedical Engineering
Publication Date
Oct 28, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s10439-019-02382-2
PMID: 31659605


Physical differences between youth and adults, which include incomplete myelination, limited neck muscle development, and a higher head-body ratio in the youth population, likely contribute towards the increased susceptibility of youth to concussion. Previous research efforts have considered the biomechanics of concussion for adult populations, but these known age-related differences highlight the necessity of quantifying the risk of concussion for a youth population. This study adapted the previously developed Generalized Acceleration Model for Brian Injury Threshold (GAMBIT) that combines linear and rotational head acceleration to model the risk of concussion for a youth population with the Generalized Acceleration Model for Concussion in Youth (GAM-CY). Survival analysis was used in conjunction with head impact data collected during participation in youth football to model risk between individuals who sustained medically-diagnosed concussions (n = 15). Receiver operator characteristic curves were generated for peak linear acceleration, peak rotational acceleration, and GAM-CY, all of which were observed to be better injury predictors than random guessing. GAM-CY was associated with an area under the curve of 0.89 (95% confidence interval: 0.82-0.95) when all head impacts experienced by the concussed players were considered. Concussion tolerance was observed to be lower for youth athletes, with average peak linear head acceleration of 62.4 ± 29.7 g compared to 102.5 ± 32.7 g for adults and average peak rotational head acceleration of 2609 ± 1591 rad/s2 compared to 4412 ± 2326 rad/s2. These data provide further evidence of age-related differences in concussion tolerance and may be used for the development of youth-specific protective designs.

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