Study identifies high school sports with highest concussion rates in the US

Concussion rates in high school sports
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A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has revealed several high school sports where concussion rates are high in the US.

The study discovered trends in concussion rates in various high school sports in the US, including football, soccer, ice hockey and cheerleading.


Results showed that the rates of football practice concussions and recurrent concussions across all sports have fallen in recent years but concussion rates in actual football games have gone up.

The study involved analysis of data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study database on 9,542 concussions across 20 high school sports that occurred between the 2013-2014 and 2017-2018 school years.

Study author Avinash Chandran, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said: "These results matter for all stakeholders involved in high school sports: parents, coaches, athletes, as well as researchers. This study updates our understanding of concussion patterns in high school sports using injury surveillance data.


He added: "It adds to our existing understanding by providing the most recent 'time-stamp' in concussion incidence in high school sports."

The three sports with the highest concussion rates identified were boys' football, with 10.4 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures, girls' soccer, with 8.19 per 10,000 athlete exposures, and boys' ice hockey, with 7.69 per 10,000 athlete exposures.

The researchers identified cheerleading as the only sport with a concussion rate higher in practice than in competition. They noted that that the place and manner cheerleaders practice could play a role in the results.


Chandran pointed out: "For instance, unfortunately, not all states recognize cheerleading as a sport -- which may impact the conditions in which cheer squads may practice." He said that practicing in hallways or on asphalts places cheerleaders at higher risk of concussion.

He also mentioned: "It is also possible that cheer squads have less access to medical care and coaching support than other high school sports."