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Analysis of Head Acceleration Kinematics in Collegiate and Elite Women’s Rugby Union / FREJA PETRIE
Swansea University Author: FREJA PETRIE
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Copyright: The author, Freja J. Petrie, 2021.Download (1.42MB)
Women are 1.4 times more likely to suffer concussion in collegiate sports than men. Despite this, the concussion protocols used in women’s rugby union are derived almost exclusively from androcentric data. However, androcentric data has limited generalisability to women due to sexual dimorphisms wit...
|Degree level:||Master of Research|
|Degree name:||MSc by Research|
|Supervisor:||Williams, Elisabeth M.|
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Women are 1.4 times more likely to suffer concussion in collegiate sports than men. Despite this, the concussion protocols used in women’s rugby union are derived almost exclusively from androcentric data. However, androcentric data has limited generalisability to women due to sexual dimorphisms within axonal structure, cervical anatomy and stabilising cervical musculature. These anatomical and functional differences may result in female head acceleration kinematics differing from those reported in androcentric data. Therefore, the study aim was to identify female-specific head acceleration kinematics in elite and collegiate women’s rugby union. In the collegiate players, instrumented mouthguards (Protecht™, SWA Ltd, Swansea, UK) were used alongside video footage to quantify head acceleration during matches. These mouthguards employed tight sensor-skull coupling and had been validated. For elite players, video footage of two international matches were analysed. Video from both cohorts were analysed using identical criteria for comparison of head acceleration kinematics across cohorts. The instrumented mouthguard system recorded 73 verified and low-pass filtered head acceleration events (HAEs) in collegiate players, with median peak linear and rotational accelerations of 11.9 g (interquartile range (IQR 7.3) and 4291.7 rad/s2 (IQR 646.9), respectively. Collegiate players experienced twice the number of HAEs per playing minute compared to elite players. Whiplash-style kinematics not previously documented in androcentric data were observed in both cohorts. As players fell, muscular control of the neck was often lost, resulting in a whiplash motion of the head hitting the ground. These kinematics were evident in 31.5% of collegiate and 4.2% of elite contact events, and likely resulted from poor neck strength and fall technique. Indeed, as world ranking of elite teams increased, incidence of whiplash-style kinematics decreased. Overall, these findings highlight distinct sexual dimorphisms in head acceleration kinematics. It is therefore necessary to understand female-specific head kinematics for the development of mitigation strategies.
Head impact, telemetry, rugby, concussion
Faculty of Science and Engineering