Mil Med. 2023 Nov 8;188(Supplement_6):584-589. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usad249.
INTRODUCTION: Use of wearable impact sensor devices to quantitatively measure head impact exposure remains largely unstudied in military-style martial arts training and combat sports, particularly at the beginner levels. The baseline frequency and severity of head impact exposure during introductory military-style martial arts trainings, such as combatives training, is valuable information for developing future programs of instruction and exposure monitoring programs. The purpose of this study was to describe head impact exposures experienced during introductory combatives training (a boxing course) at U.S. Military Academy.
METHODS: This study used instrumented mouthguards to measure head impact exposure in U.S. Military Academy cadets during a compulsory boxing course. Summary exposures from a preliminary dataset are presented.
RESULTS: Twenty-two male subjects (19.9 ± 1.1 years, 86.6 ± 11.7 kg) participated in 205 analyzed player-bouts (full contact sparring sessions) with 809 video verified impacts (average 3.9 impacts per player-bout). The mean peak linear acceleration was 16.5 ±7.1 G, with a maximum of 70.8 G. There was a right-skewed distribution, with 640/809 (79.1%) events falling between 10 and 20 G. The mean peak angular acceleration was 1.52 ± 0.96 krad/s2, with a maximum of 8.85 krad/s2.
CONCLUSIONS: Compared to other high-risk sports at Service Academies, head impacts from beginner boxing were of similar magnitude to those reported for Service Academy football and slightly lower than those reported for Service Academy rugby. Based on these preliminary data, the risk profile for introductory military-style martial arts training, such as boxing or combatives, may be similar to other contact sports like football and rugby, but further research is required to confirm these findings and understand the effects of the exposures in a shorter duration.