n International SportMed Journal - Effects of taekwondo kicks on head accelerations and injury potential : a pilot study : original research article

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



In taekwondo (TKD), the incidence of concussion is four times greater than in American gridiron football. Biomechanical studies of concussion in taekwondo are scarce.

To assess the effect of head impact biomechanics as a result of taekwondo kicks.
Between-groups design.
Two male (22.0±0.0 years, 184±0.0cm, 81.3±1.8 kg) and two female (0.0±2.8 years, 171.0±1.4 cm, 63.0±5.2 kg) elite taekwondo athletes participated in this study. Head linear acceleration (RLA) and head injury criterion (HIC) data were collected from five different head kicks randomly performed five times. A Hybrid II Crash Dummy head (H2D) was instrumented with a tri-axial accelerometer.
Significant differences were found between kicks in RLA (eta2=3.8) and HIC (eta2=4.6) in the men and women (RLA, eta2=4.5 and HIC, eta2=4.7). Post-hoc analyses showed differences in RLA between the jump back kick (61.6±31.0 g) and clench axe kick (33.3±11.1 g) in males (ES=0.9). HIC analysis revealed differences between the jump back kick (556.8±679.2) and jump hook kick (191.0±37.2) (ES=0.7) and in head velocity between the turning kick (5.0±0.5 m.s-1) and jump hook kick (3.2±1.3 m.s-1, ES=1.1) in the males. In the females, there was a difference between the jump back (HIC: 236.8±104.3) and clench axe kicks (22.2±11.2) (ES=1.2) and in foot velocity between the turning (15.7±1.2 m.s-1) and clench axe kicks (9.1±2.3 m.s-1) (ES=1.2).
Previous research reported RLA values of 67.0 g (HIC=167) in boxing compared to 72.8 g (HIC=667) in TKD. These high magnitudes of injury-related measures highlight the need for the implementation of more safety precautions.

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