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J Athl Train. 1992; 27(2): 120-122, 124.
PMCID: PMC1317148

The Incidence of Spearing by High School Football Ball Carriers and Their Tacklers


This study established the cumulative incidence per season of ball carrier spearing and concurrent defensive spearing by tacklers on a New Jersey high school football team. Spearing, which involves flexing the neck and initiating contact with the top of the helmet, is a significant cause of injury to the head and neck of a football player. To reduce the risk of head and neck injuries in football, all avenues of spearing must be explored. Nine game films from the 1989 football season were reviewed to determine the incidence of ball carrier spearing and concurrent defensive spearing. There were 167 incidents of ball carrier spearing (1 per 5.1 plays) and 72 incidents of concurrent defensive spearing (1 per 2.3 ball carrier spears), although no spearing penalties were called. This study detected a surprisingly high cumulative incidence of ball carrier spearing and concurrent defensive spearing, along with poor enforcement of the rule banning spearing.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association