The objective of this study was to characterize the risk of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) in living humans based on a large set of head impact data taken from American football players at the collegiate level. Real-time head accelerations were recorded from helmet-mounted accelerometers designed to stay in contact with the player’s head. Over 27,000 head impacts were recorded, including four impacts resulting in MTBI. Parametric risk curves were developed by normalizing MTBI incidence data by head impact exposure data. An important finding of this research is that living humans, at least in the setting of collegiate football, sustain much more significant head impacts without apparent injury than previously thought. The following preliminary nominal injury assessment reference values associated with a 10% risk of MTBI are proposed: a peak linear head acceleration of 165 g, a HIC of 400, and a peak angular head acceleration of 9000 rad/s².