Injury surveillance at the London 2012 Paralympic games revealed that the event with the highest incidence of injury was Paralympic football 5-a-side.
Professor Nick Webborn OBE is working in collaboration with the Elite Development Manager and Head Coach of the Football Association's Disability Football Strategy on a research project which aims to understand the nature of forces during head collisions in blind football.
Research will be carried out during the 2017–18 football season. Specialist equipment will be used to:
The England Disability Blind Football team and support staff will use the equipment for the first two elements of data capture. The research element will focus on the third element which will collate the data remotely for any impacts that occur. No additional active intervention will be required.
The research took place during the 2016–2017 football season.
Impact injuries to the face and head are a cause for concern in football 5-a-side for the visually impaired. These collisions comprised 25 per cent of injuries during competition in a study at the London 2012 Paralympic games. The Football Committee of the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Medical Committee has highlighted that this requires further research for prevention, including the possible development of head protection. To design any protective headgear, it is first necessary to understand the forces that occur during collision, and the directions in which these forces occur.
Understanding the forces will allow protective headgear to be designed and integrated into competitive sport, which will have a positive impact on the severity of injuries received from head collisions during Paralympic football matches. Professor Webborn is working alongside Brighton Product Lab at the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics on potential prototype headgear.
This research project is ongoing; output, findings and impact will be updated in due course.
Professor Nick Webborn OBE
Disability Football Strategy Elite Development Manager and Head Coach