The purpose of this study was to monitor head impact magnitude and characteristics, such as impact location and frequency, at high school taekwondo sparring sessions.
Eight male high school taekwondo athletes participated in this study. The head impact characteristics were recorded by X-Patch, a wireless accelerometer and gyroscope, during 6 taekwondo sparring sessions. The outcome measures were the peak linear acceleration (g = 9.81 msec2), peak rotational acceleration, rotational velocity, and Head Injury Criterion.
A total of 689 impacts occurred over 6 sessions involving the 8 athletes. There was an average of 24 impacts per 100 minutes, and there were significant differences in the frequency of impacts among both the sessions and individual athletes. In order of frequency, the most commonly hit locations were the side (38.2%), back (35.7%), and front (23.8%) of the head.
The data indicate that there is a relatively high number of head impacts experienced by taekwondo athletes during sparring practice. According to the rotational acceleration predicting impact severity published in previous research, 17.1% of the impacts were deemed to be a moderate and 15.5% were deemed to be severe.