How many sports concussions occur each year?
- It is estimated that as many as 3.8 million concussions occur in the USA per year during competitive sports and recreational activities; however, as many as 50% of the concussions may go unreported.1
- Sports and recreation-related concussions are a leading cause of TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits among children and teens.2
- Children and teens make up approxiamately 70% of all sports- and recreation-related concussion seen in the emergency department.2
- Children have the highest rate of emergency department visits for traumatic brain (TBI) injury of all age groups.2
In what sports are concussions most often reported?
- Concussions occur in all sports with the highest incidence in football, hockey, rugby, soccer and basketball. 1
- The largest number of sports and recreation related TBIs among males occurred during bicycling, football, and basketball.1
- Among females, the largest number of sports and recreation related TBIs occurred during bicycling, playground activities, and horseback riding.1
- Among all sex, grade, and racial/ethnic subgroups, the odds of reporting a concussion increased significantly with the number of sports teams on which students played.8
How many athletes are sustaining multiple concussions?
- 15% of students (approximately 2.5 million) reported having at least one concussion during the 12 months.10
- 6% (1 million) reported two or more concussions.10
- 69% of athletes with a possible concussion played with concussion symptoms.9
- 40% of those athletes said their coach was not aware they had a possible concussion.9
What is known about sports concussion risk and recovery?
- In sports with similar playing rules, the reported incidence of concussion is higher in female athletes than in male athletes.1
- Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and can take longer to recover than adults.3
- Athletes who have had a concussion, at any point in their lives, have a greater chance of getting another concussion.3
- A greater number, severity, and duration of symptoms after a concussion are predictors of a prolonged recovery.1
- Recurrent concussion is associated with increased odds of post-concussion syndrome (PCS).4
How can sports concussions be prevented?
There are many ways to help reduce the risk of a concussion or other serious brain injury both on and off the sports field, including:
Tell athletes you expect good sportsmanship at all times, both on and off the playing field.
- Wearing the right protective equipment.
Use the right protective equipment for the sport or activity. Helmets should fit properly and be:
- age appropriate
- worn consistently and correctly
- appropriately certified for use
- Creating a safe sports culture.
Young athletes deserve to play sports in a culture that celebrates their hard work, dedication, and teamwork, and in programs that seek to create a safe environment—especially when it comes to concussion. As a youth sports coach or parent, your actions can create a safe sport culture and can lower an athlete’s chance of getting a concussion or other serious injury.
- Enforcing the rules.
Enforce the rules of the sport for fair play, safety, and sportsmanship. Ensure athletes avoid unsafe actions such as:
- Striking another athlete in the head;
- Using their head or helmet to contact another athlete;
- Making illegal contacts or checking, tackling, or colliding with an unprotected opponent; and/or
- Trying to injure or put another athlete at risk for injury.
What should you do if you think you or your child has had a concussion?
- Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide when it is safe to return to sports.
- Do not return to play with a known or suspected concussion until evaluated and given permission by an appropriate health care professional. Second concussions that occur before you have recovered can be very serious.
- Tell your coach or child’s coach about any recent concussions.
It is better to miss one game than the whole season.
- Harmon, Kimberly G., et al. “American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, vol. 23, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1–18., doi:10.1097/jsm.0b013e31827f5f93.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Report to Congress: The Management of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. Atlanta, GA.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.) Get a HEADS UP on Concussion in Sports Policies: Information for Parents, Coaches, and School & Sports Professionals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved July 30, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/pdfs/policy/headsuponconcussioninsportspolicies-a.pdf
- Zuckerman, S. L., Yengo-Kahn, A. M., Buckley, T. A., Solomon, G. S., Sills, A. K., & Kerr, Z. Y. (2016). Predictors of postconcussion syndrome in collegiate student-athletes. Neurosurgical Focus, 40(4). doi:10.3171/2016.1.focus15593
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brain Injury Safety Tips and Prevention. (2017). Retrieved July 30, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_whatis.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Responding to a Concussion and Action Plan for Coaches. (2015, April 7). Retrieved July 30, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_respondingto.html
- Coronado, V. G., Haileyesus, T., Cheng, T. A., Bell, J. M., Haarbauer-Krupa, J., Lionbarger, M. R., Gilchrist, J. (2015). Trends in Sports- and Recreation-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries Treated in US Emergency Departments. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 30(3), 185-197. doi:10.1097/htr.0000000000000156
- Depadilla, L., Miller, G. F., Jones, S. E., Peterson, A. B., & Breiding, M. J. (2018). Self-Reported Concussions from Playing a Sport or Being Physically Active Among High School Students — United States, 2017. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67(24), 682-685. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6724a3
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017) HEADS UP: Concussion in Youth Sports Online Training. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved July 30, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/pdfs/youthsports/course/HU-YSC_Transcript_2017-a.pdf
- DePadilla L, Miller GF, Jones SE, Peterson AB, Breiding MJ. Self-Reported Concussions from Playing a Sport or Being Physically Active Among High School Students — United States, 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:682–685. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6724a3