New Study: Concussions May Be on Rise

The American Journal of Sports Medicine has published a study that indicates that concussions may be on the rise for high school aged individuals.

In 25 public schools from 1997 to 2008, and six different sports each for girls and boys, there were about five concussions for every 10,000 times high school athletes were on the field, the research — published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine — found.

That’s up from slightly over one per 10,000 times on the field in 1997.

Breaking it down by some sports and gender in the study:

Football was the riskiest sport, with a rate of about six concussions per 10,000. Boys’ lacrosse and soccer came next. For girls, concussions were most common during soccer at three and a half per 10,000, followed by lacrosse and basketball.

However, when boys and girls played similar sports, girls were about twice as likely to get a concussion. The same has been found in college athletes, but nobody really knows why.

The study author Andrew Lincoln did make mention that this could be due to increased awareness about the injury, and the fact that athletes at this age-group are generally getting bigger-faster-stronger, leading to higher impact forces (Newton’s Laws).  The vast majority of the 2.650 athletes concussed, only had that one.  Roughly 11% of those found to have a concussion had a second, and 1% had three or more.

The underlying message from the investigators was that information about handling concussions may even escape doctors at this time and that;

“That’s an area of research that’s greatly needed.”

What has been presented has been documented on this blog, the incidence of concussion (observationally) has increased, but that may be entirely due to the awareness about the injury.  Even today there is a large group of people, players, coaches, and physicians that do not have a grasp on concussions, their impact, and management.  The ultimate goal is to get everyone on the same page, especially with the management of adolescent concussions.

I believe we are getting “somewhere” but we are nowhere near where the awareness should be.   Studies like this should be used to help those that are “blind” to become receptive to learning more.


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