• N. Stewart Pritchard Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, USA; School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech - Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, USA
  • Jillian E. Urban Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, USA
  • Logan E. Miller Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, USA; School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech - Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, USA
  • Laura Lintner Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, USA
  • Joel D. Stitzel Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, USA



head impact exposure, gymnastics, concussion, head injury


Concussions in gymnastics have scarcely been researched; however, current evidence suggests that concussion rates may be higher than previously reported due to underreporting among coaches, athletes, and parents. The purpose of this study was to outline a method for collecting head impact data in gymnastics, and to provide the first measurements of head impact exposure within gymnastics. Three optional level women’s artistic gymnasts (ages 11-16) were instrumented with a mouthpiece sensor that measured linear acceleration, rotational velocity, and rotational acceleration of the head during contact and aerial phases of skills performed during practice. Peak linear acceleration, peak rotational velocity, peak rotational acceleration, duration, and time to peak linear
acceleration were calculated from sensor data. Kinematic data was time-synchronized to video and then sensor data was segmented into contact scenarios and skills characterized by the event rotation, apparatus, landing mat type, skill type, skill phase, landing stability, and body region contacted. The instrumented gymnasts were exposed to 1,394 contact scenarios (41 per gymnast per session), of which 114 (3.9 per gymnast per session) contained head contact. Peak kinematics varied across skill type, apparatuses, and landing mats. The median duration of impacts with head contact (177 ms) was longer than measured impacts in youth and collegiate level soccer. Results from this study help provide a foundation for future research that may seek to examine head impact exposure within gymnastics to better inform concussion prevention and post-concussion return to play protocols within the sport.


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How to Cite

Pritchard, N. S., E. Urban, J., Miller, L. E., Lintner, L., & Stitzel, J. D. (2020). AN ANALYSIS OF HEAD KINEMATICS IN WOMEN’S ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS. Science of Gymnastics Journal, 12(3), 229–242.