Concussions in football at question


Marty Gordon

High School football practice got started Monday, and recreation youth leagues get underway next week. The question is whether recent reports on concussions in football is affecting the numbers game part of the sport.

Concussion rates are important for recreation departments and the Virginia High School League to consider as kids take to the field this season. Also, it must be at the front and center for their parents.

The Health Research Funding organization has compiled 36 statistics on sports concussions in the youth and high school ranks. They include:

1. High school athletes suffer two million injures, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.

2. 96 percent of Americans believe that a health evaluation before playing sports is important for youth athletes.

3. The chances of suffering a catastrophic injury while playing football when compared to other high school sports: three times greater.

4. Only 42 percent of high schools have access to athletic training services.

5. One out of every two second-impact injuries that occur after a concussion result in the fatality of a young athlete.

6. 15.8 percent of football players who sustain a concussion severe enough to cause loss of consciousness return to play the same day.

7. Concussion rates for children under the age of 19 who play in football have doubled in the last decade, even though overall sports participation has declined.

8. More than 248,000 children visited hospital emergency departments in 2009 for concussions and other traumatic brain injuries related to sports and recreation.

9. Sports injuries that are concussion related account for one out of every five childhood TBIs that occur.

10. The majority of high-level impacts in youth football occur during practices.

11. Sixty-two percent of all sports injuries occur during practices, not during games.

12. About 27 percent of parents do not take their child’s practices as seriously as they do their games.

13. 5-10 percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season.

14. The chances of a youth football athlete suffering a concussion over the course of one season: 75 percent.

15. Retired NFL players in their 50s are five times more likely to have been diagnosed with a dementia-related syndrome.

16. Up to 20 percent of youth players will sustain a brain injury over the course of a season.

17. Kids who have had one concussion are 6 times more likely to experience a secondary concussion.

18. Pop Warner, the largest youth football program in the US, saw participation drop 9.5 percent between 2010-12.

19. In a 2013 study, it was found that youth football players are injured at a rate that is three to four times higher than older players during games, while practice injuries were the same.

20. It is estimated that 53 percent of high school athletes have sustained at least 1 concussion before participating in high school sports.

21. The percentage of collegiate athletes who have a history of multiple concussions before playing their first college game: 36 percent.

22. It is important to manage concussions early because the frontal lobe continues to develop until the age of 25.

23. If a second concussion is received, then a third is up to four times more likely.

24. After a third concussion, the chances of a fourth concussion are nine times more likely while playing the same sport.

25. Current CDC estimates reveal that up to 3.8 million concussions occur every year.

26. Fewer than 10 percent of youth football related concussions involve losing consciousness for any period of time.

27. 85 percent of those who suffer a concussion will suffer from a headache. Up to 80 percent of concussions will also cause dizziness.

28. A football player may receive up to 1,500 blows to the head during a season.

29. The amount of gravity recorded in a hit to the head that causes a concussion in football: 40g.

30. The impact speed of a football player who tackles a player who is stationary: 25 mph.

31. Youth athletes typically recover from a concussion within 2 weeks.

32. In 10-20 percent of cases, symptoms can persist for weeks, months, and occasionally even longer.

33. Cumulative concussions as a youth lead to an increase in the likelihood of a catastrophic head injury by 39 percent.

34. High school football accounts for 47 percent of all reported sports concussions.

35. 3,800,000 sports concussions were reported in 2012, which is double what was reported in 2002.

36. The number of student athletes who report having two or more concussions in the same year: 33 percent.

Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at how concussions are being dealt with and what researchers are doing to help prevent them.