Recent studies have reviewed how sports with physical contact have impacted athletes. For example, in a survey of nearly 75 high school football players, more than one-third reported having a history of migraine, a rate twice that of the estimated prevalence in the general population. The report’s findings were presented at the American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Another study found that the majority of heading-related concussions among boys and girls were attributed to body-on-body contact between players — not head contact with the ball.


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“However, it may provide guidance to regulatory bodies about how to limit head impact across all players,” he said.

For instance, take the NCAA’s guidelines (which are, according to Reynolds, only “recommendations and not enforceable”) on how often a team can hold a particular kind of practice. The regulatory body suggests that teams have no more than two “live contact” practices per week, he said.

“The NCAA has very little pressure on it to regulate the number of helmet only, shell, and full pad practices,” he said. “The NFL was forced to enact its season limit of 14 contact practices by the NFL players association, as part of their 2011 Collective bargaining agreement.”