A group of researchers including R. Dawn Comstock released data, published earlier this year, regarding concussions what was initially found is not surprising, or shouldn’t be;
Of 14,635 high-school sports injuries reported during the 2008-10 school years, 1,936 (13.2 percent) were concussions, according to an epidemiological study published in January in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. This was nearly twice the rate reported in earlier studies of high-school athletes.
Part of the reason the increase exists is because of the inclusion of boys hockey and lacrosse, however taking that away there would be a significant increase otherwise. This too can be attributed to the increased awareness and better assessment of concussions. It is of my opinion that we are just now on the verge of finding the “true” rate of concussions, for many years it has been under-reported due to the lack of understanding/awareness (also an issue with general and serious injury tracking as well, see Matt Chaney)
What makes this research “eye-opening” is what the researches found about recovery;
A majority of athletes who suffered concussions returned to play within three weeks. About 25 percent returned to practice in a day. In 2 percent of cases, the athlete resumed play on the same day he or she suffered the injury.
I will echo and expand on what the researches said in the accompanying article in the Standard-Examiner about the 2% returning to play on the same day: WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT!!!! Not only should this be considered dangerous but with current research and legislation this is malicious. Of the 20 sports surveyed this happened in 12 of the sports (considering that boys volleyball had no concussions this is 63% of the sports). Expanding on that above comment the 25% who returned in a day is also very disturbing.
Without mincing words; no adolescent athlete should be returned to sports in less than 6 days, PERIOD! Even then it is a stretch, although there are varying ideas on a “plan” for sitting out adolescents, I truly believe that 10-14 days is the absolute minimum. When we get this through the thick skulls of the players, parents, and coaches this injury will be much easier to handle and will produce far better outcomes, if not in the present then in the future.