, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 873-882,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 09 Jan 2013

Brain Injury Prediction: Assessing the Combined Probability of Concussion Using Linear and Rotational Head Acceleration


Recent research has suggested possible long term effects due to repetitive concussions, highlighting the importance of developing methods to accurately quantify concussion risk. This study introduces a new injury metric, the combined probability of concussion, which computes the overall risk of concussion based on the peak linear and rotational accelerations experienced by the head during impact. The combined probability of concussion is unique in that it determines the likelihood of sustaining a concussion for a given impact, regardless of whether the injury would be reported or not. The risk curve was derived from data collected from instrumented football players (63,011 impacts including 37 concussions), which was adjusted to account for the underreporting of concussion. The predictive capability of this new metric is compared to that of single biomechanical parameters. The capabilities of these parameters to accurately predict concussion incidence were evaluated using two separate datasets: the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) data and National Football League (NFL) data collected from impact reconstructions using dummies (58 impacts including 25 concussions). Receiver operating characteristic curves were generated, and all parameters were significantly better at predicting injury than random guessing. The combined probability of concussion had the greatest area under the curve for all datasets. In the HITS dataset, the combined probability of concussion and linear acceleration were significantly better predictors of concussion than rotational acceleration alone, but not different from each other. In the NFL dataset, there were no significant differences between parameters. The combined probability of concussion is a valuable method to assess concussion risk in a laboratory setting for evaluating product safety.

Associate Editor Peter E. McHugh oversaw the review of this article.