An assessment of the utility and functionality of wearable head impact sensors in Australian Football Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES:To assess the utility and functionality of the X-Patch® as a measurement tool to study head impact exposure in Australian Football. Accuracy, precision, reliability and validity were examined. DESIGNS:Laboratory tests and prospective observational study. METHODS:Laboratory tests on X-Patch® were undertaken using an instrumented Hybrid III head and neck and linear impactor. Differences between X-Patch® and reference data were analysed. Australian Football players wore the X-Patch® devices and games were video-recorded. Video recordings were analysed qualitatively for head impact events and these were correlated with X-Patch® head acceleration events. Wearability of the X-Patch® was assessed using the Comfort Rating Scale for Wearable Computers. RESULTS:Laboratory head impacts, performed at multiple impact sites and velocities, identified significant correlations between headform-measured and device-measured kinematic parameters (p<0.05 for all). On average, the X-Patch®-recorded peak linear acceleration (PLA) was 17% greater than the reference PLA, 28% less for peak rotational acceleration (PRA) and 101% greater for the Head Injury Criterion (HIC). For video analysis, 118 head acceleration events (HAE) were included with PLA ≥30g across 53 players. Video recordings of X-Patch®-measured HAEs (PLA ≥30g) determined that 31.4% were direct head impacts, 9.3% were indirect impacts, 44.1% were unknown or unclear and 15.3% were neither direct nor indirect head impacts. The X-Patch® system was deemed wearable by 95-100% of respondents. CONCLUSIONS:This study reinforces evidence that use of the current X-Patch® devices should be limited to research only and in conjunction with video analysis.


  • McIntosh, Andrew S
  • Willmott, Catherine
  • Patton, Declan A
  • Mitra, Biswadev
  • Brennan, James H
  • Dimech-Betancourt, Bleydy
  • Howard, Teresa S
  • Rosenfeld, Jeffrey V

publication date

  • 2019