Thayne Munce, PhD, FACSM, Lab
Primary Research Focus
Dr. Munce and his research team study athletic health and performance with the goal of translating evidence-based knowledge into practical applications on the playing field and in the clinic. A primary focus of this work has been assessing head impact exposure and neurologic function of youth football players to better understand the risk of brain injury in this sport.
Behind the Research
Mild traumatic brain injury and concussions rank among the most important and challenging issues in sports medicine today. While the risk of concussion in football is well recognized, there is increasing concern about the effects of repetitive sub-concussive head impacts on brain health. Furthermore, the long-term risk of brain injury resulting from football participation is largely unknown.
We have focused our attention on youth football players, since nearly 70% of all participants in this sport are younger than high school age, yet this group has been studied the least. Our primary approach has been to quantify head impact exposure of middle school football players using the Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System. In addition to characterizing head impact exposure in this population, we have also performed baseline and postseason clinical assessments of neurologic function. These measures allow us to compare individual changes in test performance with head impact exposure throughout the season.