Athletes at Risk for Concussion

Concussions can happen to anyone and can occur in any sport. And sports aren’t the only risk. Children and adolescents can sustain concussions in a variety of ways: car or bike crashes, gym class or snowboarding.

A suspected concussion should always be taken seriously.

group of teens with sports equipment Here are a few facts* to consider:

  • Sports and recreation-related activities become the primary source of concussions beginning at age 6, increase in proportion up to age 10, remain constant until age 16, and decrease slightly at age 17.
  • 70% of concussion are related to sports and recreational activities.
  • 40% of concussions stem from contact or collision sports including football, soccer, basketball, and hockey.
  • 17% of concussions come from limited contact sports & recreation including cheerleading, baseball and softball, volleyball, and bike riding.
  • 13% of concussions are related to recreation and non-contact sports including recess, playing outside, gym class, and swimming.
  • The sports with the highest rates of concussion for boys are football, ice hockey and lacrosse.
  • The sports with the highest rates of concussion for girls are soccer, lacrosse and basketball.
  • Girls appear to sustain more concussions and have more problems with concussions than boys in sports where both genders participate.

Regardless of whether a concussion occurred on the field of play or at recess, returning to sports too soon will make an athlete’s symptoms last longer and puts the athlete at higher risk for another, more significant injury.

*Reference: Haarbauer-Krupa J, Arbogast KB, Metzger KB, Greenspan A, Kessler RS, Curry AE, Bell JM, DePadilla L, Pfeiffer MR, Zonfrillo MR, Master CL. Variations in Mechanisms of Injury for Children with Concussion. Journal of Pediatrics. April 2018.

Marar M, McIlvain NM, Fields SK, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of Concussions Among United States High School Athletes in 20 sports. Am J Sports Med. 2012 Apr;40(4):747-55.

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