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11 year study in concussion incidence

A study to establish the risks and trends of concussions from sports-related activities in 12 scholastic sports that could be used as a basis for early concussion detection and concussion treatments and preventative measures. This epidemiological study will investigate the relative risks and incidence rates of concussion in twelve high school sports using data available from the 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2008 academic years.

Data was gathered from 20 large public high schools, which used electronic tools for medical record keeping. On-site athletic trainers were present on all recorded practice sessions and all injuries were recorded electronically on a daily basis. The results showed that out of 10 926 892 athlete exposures, 2650 concussions were reported, meaning an incidence rate of around 0.0024%. Gender discrepancy was present, with boys sports accounting for 75% of all concussions when the athlete exposures were close to even (53%). Football was found to have the highest incidence rate of 0.0060%, meaning the sport alone was responsible for more than half of all concussions recorded. Looking at girls’ sports, soccer had the most concussions with an incidence rate of 0.0035%. It was also found to come second in all sports when data from boys’ and girls’ was combined.

When data for the 1997-1998 and 2007-2008 academic years were compared, there was a 4.2-fold increase in the concussion rate, an annual increase of around 15.5%. Breaking down the records by sport, all 12 sports have seen increases over time in the concussion rate. When comparing girls’ sports to equivalent or similar boy’s sports, girls were found to have nearly two times the risk of concussion as boys. Although it was the collision sports like football and boys’ lacrosse which saw the greatest amount of concussions, it is surprising to see girls’ sports have rates higher than those of boys’ sports. The other notable discovery was the increase over time in concussion rates across all sports, which could either be explained by a higher sensitivity to recognizing a concussion or actually be an increase in the occurrence. The findings of the study indicate that contact sports like lacrosse and football must still be monitored carefully, but that vigilance in other sports that may not be considered to have a high risk of concussion should not be neglected.

Full study can be downloaded at: