12 July 2012

Concussion Rate in College Athletes Increasing

Concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury It is a head injury in which the brain is shaken. Sports athletes are susceptible to head injuries because of the extreme physical activity and contact required of in a game, specially in football. It is the leading cause of death from sports-related injuries.

Head trauma is an injury of the scalp, skull, or brain. The injury may vary from a minor bump on the skull to a serious brain injury. These head injuries can lead to a concussion.

Each year, an estimated 300,000 sports related traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in the United Stated. These include concussions, conditions of temporary altered mental status. Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and adolescents.

Concussions affect college players at high rates too, study says

As interest in concussion rates and prevention strategies at all levels continues to grow, one population that appears to have increasing head injury rates is collegiate football players. Research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Baltimore highlights that the concussion rate in three college football programs has doubled in recent years.

"We monitored concussions at three service academies in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 football seasons, and saw the combined number of reports increased from 23 to 42 in this timespan," noted Kelly G. Kilcoyne, MD, lead author from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC.

Video: Sports Concussions

The increase comes after a 2010 NCAA concussion management initiative that requires athletic programs to report concussions signs and symptoms and then remove players from play.

"The timing of the new NCAA regulations and the increase in reported concussions could certainly be attributed to under-reporting from players and coaches in the past," Kilcoyne noted. "Such an increase is still notable, and we need continued studies in football and other sports to find out more."

The study compiled concussion data from practices and games at the United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy and the United States Air Force Academy, all Division I Athletic Programs. All patients were males between the ages of 18 and 22, with rosters having about 150 players for practices and 90 for games.


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Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
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