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Decrease Seen in Football Practice-Related Concussions

In sex-comparable sports, concussion rates higher for girls; girls also had more recurrent concussions

TUESDAY, Oct. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Rates of concussion during football practice and recurrent concussion rates across all high school sports decreased from the 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 school years, according to a study published online Oct. 15 in Pediatrics.

Zachary Y. Kerr, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues describe the epidemiology of concussions in 20 high school sports during the 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 school years. High school athletic trainers provided injury and athlete exposure (AE) data to the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study. Concussion rates were calculated per 10,000 AEs.

The researchers identified 9,542 concussions for an overall rate of 4.17 per 10,000 AEs. The highest concussion rate was seen for football (10.40 per 10,000 AEs). Football competition-related concussion rates increased across the study period (33.19 to 39.07 per 10,000 AEs), while there was a decrease seen in practice-related concussion rates (5.47 to 4.44 per 10,000 AEs). Recurrent concussion rates decreased in all sports (0.47 to 0.28 per 10,000 AEs). Concussion rates were higher for girls than boys among sex-comparable sports (3.35 versus 1.51 per 10,000 AEs; injury rate ratio, 2.22). Compared with boys, girls also had a larger proportion of concussions that were recurrent (9.3 versus 6.4 percent; injury proportion ratio, 1.44).

“Future research should also target risk and preventive factors in other sports that allow contact, the role of skill development to reduce equipment-related contact, and strategies to mitigate increased concussion risk in the latter halves of events,” the authors write.

The study was partially funded by medical device companies.

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