Concussion Study Suggests Dangers Associated with Certain High School Sports

The American Journal of Sports Medicine recently published a new study on the epidemiology of concussions amongst high school athletes by comparing the rates and patterns of concussions across 20 sports.[1]  After analyzing athlete exposures and injury data collected from a large, nationally disperse selection of U.S. high schools (between 2008 and 2010), the study found that the majority of concussions suffered (47 percent) resulted from participation in football.  The next highest percentage of recorded concussions resulted from girls’ soccer (8.2 percent), followed by boys’ wrestling (5.8 percent), and girls basketball (5.5 percent).  Of all the sports studied, concussions accounted for the highest percentage of total injuries incurred (22.2 percent ) in boys’ ice hockey.  Interestingly, the study also found that concussive injuries were 6.4 times more likely to occur during competition than during practice.

Awareness for the dangers associated with youth concussions is particularly heightened in light of the pending, high profile class-action litigation filed against the NFL.  Notably, famous parent athletes such as Kurt Warner have publicly expressed reservations over whether or not they would allow their own children to participate in youth league football.[2]  Still, all of the media hype has garnered some positive attention.  Quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints has recently teamed up with PACE – “Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education” – in an effort to make youth sports safer.  The PACE program provides free concussion testing to thousands of middle and high school sports organizations nationwide.  As of June 26, 2012, any parent, student, or coach that wishes to sign up an individual school for free testing procedures can do so at http://www.dsgpace.org/.

The CDC has also created the online resource “Heads Up” to promote concussion awareness for high school athletes, coaches and parents.  Among other things this website provides informational guides, a list of concussion related symptoms, and training for coaches of high school sports.  It is available at:

Injury Prevention & Control: Traumatic Brain Injury


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