The preliminary results of a three-year study on head impact exposure in Hawai‘i high school football players will be presented on July 14 at the Far West Athletic Trainers’ Association (FWATA) annual meeting, being held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
The HuTT®808 program is a partnership between the UH Mānoa College of Education (COE) and Erik E Swartz, Vice Dean and Ruth S. Ammon Professor at the Adelphi University School of Health Sciences. Launched in 2019 to enhance community awareness and environment for head safety, HuTT®808 works in collaboration with the COE Hawai‘i Concussion Awareness Program (HCAMP) and is funded by the GOG Foundation.
“Tackling and blocking behaviors using the head can be attributed, in part, to the fact that traditional helmets give players a false sense of safety,” said Swartz who is the director of HuTT®808. “Frequent, supervised tackling and blocking training without a helmet teaches a player to avoid initiating contact with the head.”
High school football participants are reported to sustain an average of 600, and as many as 2,000, head impacts in a single season. Impacts to the top and front of the helmet generate the greatest forces and pose the highest risk for acute brain and spinal cord injury. There are also potential links between head impact exposure and cognitive impairment, early-onset Alzheimer’s, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Student-athletes from St. Louis School, PAC-5, Kalani High School, and Roosevelt High School participated in the program. Each athlete was fitted with a new Riddell helmet with head impact sensors, which were worn in practices and games to record the location and magnitude of all impacts sustained on the field. Players also participated in HuTT® training sessions, based on the concept of a helmetless tackling and blocking training intervention developed by Swartz while at the University of New Hampshire.
“The goal for HuTT®808 was to reduce the number of head impacts experienced by Hawaiʻi high school athletes, said Nathan Murata, COE Dean and co-director of HuTT®808. “Our preliminary results show that, with intervention, the number of head impacts decreased. As we continue our study, we hope to include more schools statewide.”
Erik E Swartz, PhD, ATC, FNATA
Hilton Waikoloa Village, Kona Ballroom 4
July 14, 2023 / 10:30–11:30
July 17, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at Baldwin High School Multimedia Room (Maui)
July 18, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. at McKinley High School Auditorium (Oʻahu)
August 15, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. at Keaʻau High School (Hawaiʻi Island)