Collecting Concussion Data: Massachusetts


As part of the concussion legislation put in place in the state of Massachusetts, the public middle and high schools must report all head injuries/concussions to the state Department of Public Health.  Although plans have not been set for the actual purpose of the data collection, it can provide a snapshot of what high schools are dealing with.  As Lisa Kocian of the Boston Globe wrote;

Football and soccer players from 26 area high schools suffered more than 300 head injuries last fall, the first time athletic departments were required to collect data under the state’s new concussion law, according to a Globe survey.

Football players accounted for 207 of the injuries found in the survey, exceeding the totals on soccer teams at most schools. Girls’ soccer programs reported nearly twice as many head injuries as boys’ soccer teams, 85 compared with 46.

The sample set of data has been put in graphical form, click on the link above to see it.  The average injury reports for the 26 schools of the data is just under 13.  There are outliers on both extremes; one school with only two reported and two schools with 27 reported in the fall season; encompassing football, girls soccer and boys soccer.

“We’ve been really out in front on this,’’ said Naomi Martin, athletic director in Lexington, which has given cognitive testing to all students in contact sports for four years. “The numbers don’t concern me. They are just indicative of having a good communication system in place with the students, the coaches, parents, nurses, training staff, athletic director, and counseling department staff.’’

The article attributes some of the concussions to the “concerned athletes” that maybe over-report, but some of the concussions have been pinned on use of the helmet, because “players overusing their heads because high-tech helmets give them a false sense of confidence.”

Among other findings was that girls soccer had almost a 2:1 reporting ratio over boys soccer, confirming what previous studies in the Journal of Athletic Training have found.

Again sports have an inherent risk associated with it, knowing the prevalence and the solutions can help temper any concerns one has, especially in Massachusetts;

“You’re going to get hurt playing football,’’ said Silva. ‘And if you don’t, you’re one lucky person.’’

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One thought on “Collecting Concussion Data: Massachusetts

  1. Jake Benford February 20, 2012 / 20:36

    It would be nice to see more states adopt this legislation. Data like this will help track and trend what is working and what is not working with regard to prevention.

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