Head and neck injuries in college football: An eight-year analysis

J. P. Albright, E. McAuley, R. K. Martin, E. T. Crowley, D. T. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study documented head and neck injuries in a study group of 342 college football players at a single institution for a period of 8 years. All freshmen players were screened for evidence of: (1) past history of head and neck injuries, and (2) abnormalities of the cervical spine on physical examination and x-ray film. By recording all head injuries and those neck injuries with time loss, incidence rates and patterns of injury incurred in college competition were determined. A total of 175 head and neck injuries were sustained by 100 players over the 8 year period. Those players with abnormal findings on screening examination were twice as likely to have a head or neck injury at some point in their college careers as those players with a normal screening examination. The greater the degree of abnormality on freshman screening examination, the more severe the neck injury in college was likely to be. Twenty-nine percent of all players in the study group sustained a head or neck injury during their college careers. The probability of a subsequent head or neck injury escalated sharply following a single incident. The overall incidence of injury was found to have been dramatically reduced over the 8 years. Influential factors such as legislative rule changes, medical status of recruits, and general coaching philosophies are discussed with regard to injury reduction and prevention of head and neck injuries in college football.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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