Sports Medicine

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 469–478 | Cite as

Accelerometers for the Assessment of Concussion in Male Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • James H. BrennanEmail author
  • Biswadev Mitra
  • Anneliese Synnot
  • Joanne McKenzie
  • Catherine Willmott
  • Andrew S. McIntosh
  • Jerome J. Maller
  • Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld
Systematic Review



Concussion is common in the sporting arena and is often challenging to diagnose. The development of wearable head impact measurement systems has enabled measurement of head kinematics in contact sports.


The objective of this systematic review was to determine the characteristics of head kinematics measured by an accelerometer system among male athletes diagnosed with concussion.


A systematic search was conducted in July 2015. Inclusion criteria were English-language studies published after 1990 with a study population of male athletes, in any sport, where objectively measured biomechanical forces were reported in the setting of a concussive event. The random effects meta-analysis model was used to combine estimates of biomechanical force measurements in concussed athletes.


Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria, the majority of which were conducted with high school and college football teams in the US. Included studies measured a combination of linear and rotational acceleration. The meta-analysed mean peak linear head acceleration associated with a concussive episode was 98.68 g (95 % CI 82.36–115.00) and mean peak rotational head acceleration was 5776.60 rads/s2 (95 % CI 4583.53–6969.67). The estimates of the biomechanical forces were consistent across studies, with I 2 values of 0 % for both meta-analyses.


Head impact monitoring through accelerometery has been shown to be useful with regard to characterising the kinematic load to the head associated with concussion. Future research with improved clinical outcome measures and head kinematic data may improve accuracy when evaluating concussion, and may assist with both interpretation of biomechanical data and the development and utilisation of implementation strategies for the technology.


Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Head Impact Rotational Acceleration Head Acceleration Rugby Union 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authorship team would like to acknowledge Ms. Lisa Kruesi and Ms. Penny Presta for their assistance in the development of the search strategy.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


James Brennan received a scholarship from Monash University to undertake this systematic review. Joanne McKenzie holds a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Public Health Fellowship (1072366).

Conflict of interest

James H. Brennan, Biswadev Mitra, Anneliese Synnot, Joanne McKenzie, Catherine Willmott, Andrew S. McIntosh, Jerome J. Maller and Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. Brennan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Biswadev Mitra
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anneliese Synnot
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Joanne McKenzie
    • 6
  • Catherine Willmott
    • 7
    • 8
  • Andrew S. McIntosh
    • 9
    • 10
  • Jerome J. Maller
    • 11
  • Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld
    • 12
    • 13
    • 14
  1. 1.National Trauma Research InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Emergency and Trauma Centre, The Alfred HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC), Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group, Centre for Health Communication and ParticipationLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  7. 7.Monash-Epworth Rehabilitation Research CentreMelbourneAustralia
  8. 8.School of Psychological Sciences and Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical NeurosciencesMelbourneAustralia
  9. 9.Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, Federation UniversityBallaratAustralia
  10. 10.Monash Injury Research Institute, Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  11. 11.Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research CentreMelbourneAustralia
  12. 12.Department of NeurosurgeryThe Alfred HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  13. 13.Department of SurgeryMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  14. 14.Department of Surgery, F. Edward Hébert School of MedicineUniformed Services University of The Health Sciences (USUHS)BethesdaUSA

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