How Common Are Concussions in Contact Sports?

In football and hockey as well as other contact sports, concussions are common in the sense that you probably have about a 5 to 10 percent chance of having a concussion in any particular season. It, of course, depends on how hard you play, what position you play, and so on. But it's a relatively common occurrence. To define concussion in sports, we essentially use a model of determining whether a person has either lost consciousness or has an alteration in consciousness. And what I mean by an alteration of consciousness is some level of confusion, memory disturbance, and then other symptoms that are more neurologic in origin such as dizziness, headache, some sort of balance problem, ringing in the ears. Any of those problems, along with amnesia for events and any thinking problem-- headache, of course, too. If you have any of those symptoms, you have likely suffered a concussion. And concussions, of course, can be mild to severe. A severe concussion actually can be a severe head injury. A concussion really refers to a shaking or impact to the head and brain and can result in very severe brain injury and very mild head injury, as well.

During any given season in football or ice hockey, for example, a player has a 5-10% chance of sustaining a concussion.

Posted on BrainLine October 20, 2010

Produced by Vicky Youcha and Brian King, BrainLine.

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