Coming up at 3:30 EST in New York City as part of the Super Bowl week the Sports Legacy Institute will being having an announcement about an initiative that could help with concussion issues. It is no secret this will deal with the Hit Count ideas floated two years ago. Below is the re-post of the February 3, 2012 announcement:
Sports Legacy Institute did in fact release their white paper today; it simply brings to the surface something that they along with others have been saying with more frequency. Their initiative to create a Hit Count is a bold step and on that is welcomed, especially in light of the very current research from Purdue.
You can find the article on the SLI website (here) or you can read the final white paper .pdf here; there is a very good background for this idea and the simple yet powerful citation of research already performed in this area. Their idea is mapped out very well, again the devil will be in the details as it all begins to be sorted out;
There are technological and monetary limitations to a pure Hit Count, as Hit Count systems currently are only sold for helmeted sports, and there are costs involved. A Hit Count is not as simple as a pitch count, where coaches only need a pencil and paper.
However, hits to the head can be accurately estimated, and methods can be developed to approximate the brain trauma exposure during games and during practice based on known variables, like position. With these estimations, rule changes and practice guidelines can be provided to ensure few, if any, athletes exceed a proposed limit.
Little League pitch counts are limits on the number of “pitches thrown per day” and mandate up to three days of rest after exposure to elbow trauma to allow the ulnar collateral ligament to recover.
A Hit Count should explore the following guidelines:
- Minimum threshold to be considered a “Hit”
- Maximum Hits per day (all counts stratified by age)
- Maximum Hits per week
- Maximum Hits per season
- Maximum Hits per year
- When the technology is available, should there be a “Total Force” threshold derived from number of hits times mean force per hit
- Minimum required days of rest after a minimum brain trauma exposure
In football, a Hit Count might lead to fewer practices that involve helmets and pads or the limits on the use of high impact drills. In soccer practice, it may mean tracking headers in practice and games. This policy is probably most critical to the youngest athletes, who may be at the greatest risk, and should receive less brain trauma than older athletes.
As noted the implementation of this may be difficult to get an accurate hit count for each individual, it is not like a pitcher where they are the only one on the field performing the specific task. However, that being said and the limitations discussed in the white paper, simply reducing the number of full contact days will reduce the overall number of hits.
Until research can identify a more specific number we must Continue reading