How G-Forces Contribute to Concussions and How Headgear Can Help

Jan 4, 2023

One of the key reasons why soccer players (and other athletes) suffer concussions is due to the g-forces they endure. The collision of heading the ball or bashing skulls with another player can inflict a surprisingly high amount of g-forces that can lead to serious brain injuries. However, the effects of these forces can be blunted. This post will examine how g-forces lead to concussions and how headgear can help. 

G-forces in action: How they lead to concussions

Technically speaking, g-forces are not a force at all. They’re a measure of acceleration to which the body (or object) is subjected. It’s usually, although not always, a measure of gravitational acceleration on the body. 

When you think of g-forces, you probably think of fighter pilots on the verge of passing out while making impossible plane maneuvers. But -forces are a thing in sports, too, especially when we’re talking about concussions and other collisions. 

In soccer, concussions sustained from heading the ball generate substantial g-force. Various research studies using sensors and simulations have found that soccer concussions caused by heading a goal kick could produce fifty to 100 Gs. Hitting the ball (or a player) causes a sudden acceleration of the skull (and plenty of g-forces), followed by rapid deceleration, a sequence of events that jolts the brain. 

Measurements and thresholds for g-forces

There are a few things to note here. For one, you might wonder how on Earth pilots can pass out experiencing eight or nine Gs, while soccer players survive after taking a supposed 50-100Gs. The amount of g-forces the body experiences doesn’t determine the severity of an injury. The direction and duration of the g-forces also matter, as well as the event producing them. 

Case in point, a sneeze creates 2.9 Gs, while plopping into a chair produces ten Gs. Survivable car accidents often inflict g-forces in the fifty to 100 range, although the injuries can be critical. That’s why soccer players can sustain up to 100 Gs of force and not sustain immediate or apparent damage to their brains. Of course, that doesn’t mean there’s no risk. 

High g-forces can wreak havoc on soccer players’ brains

G-forces affect players differently. It’s no secret that two players subjected to the same force (i.e., head-to-head collision) can have different outcomes. Player A can walk away with minimal pain, while player B needs to be taken off on a stretcher. Factors such as genetics and neck strength/mass can make all the difference. 

Nevertheless, repeated hits to the head and the resulting g-forces can trigger brain changes. Neurons die, blood flow is reduced, and brain chemicals (neurotransmitters and hormones) become unbalanced. Of course, the big concern is that repetitive head trauma ramps up the production of proteins that can lead to CTE years after retirement. These changes can occur even if a player is unaware of their injuries. 

How soccer headgear can help 

In previous articles, we’ve discussed how soccer headgear can reduce impact forces that produce soccer concussions. We’ll quote the stat from Virginia Tech’s Helmet Lab study that we’ve used before:our line of Storelli ExoShield concussion headgear can reduce the forces that lead to concussions by 84 percent. 

What we haven’t highlighted much, if at all, is that our headgear demonstrated the ability to reduce
g-force measurements by 50 percent. We must bring this out because impact forces and g-forces are not synonymous. The impact forces we’ve been discussing all along refer to the amount of shock or force produced when two objects collide, measured in Newtons (N). G-forces, which aren’t technically a “force,” are a measure of acceleration. 

The point we’re trying to get across is that our soccer headgear may offer concussion protection by reducing the impact and acceleration (and deceleration) that lead to concussions. The less jolting and movement there is, the safer a player’s brain will be. 

Beating the “forces” of nature for soccer safety

This post has probably felt more like a science lesson than an article about soccer safety, and rightfully so. After all, you probably never knew the amount of g-forces players experience during a concussion.  Heck, you probably didn’t even know g-forces aren’t even a force. But understanding the science behind soccer concussions is crucial to appreciate their seriousness and, more importantly, reducing the risk of getting them. 

Here at Storelli, we’re committed to providing you with all the knowledge you need to know to keep your brain as safe as possible on the pitch. More importantly, we’ve covered you with protective gear, such as our Storelli ExoShield headguard. It’s our mission to see you dominate on the pitch without injuries on the pitch dominating you. 

Are you looking for head protection in soccer? Get our ExoShield concussion headguard to reduce your risk of a soccer concussion. 

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