Study: Trainers report decrease in concussions during high school sports practices

(FOX 9)

Brand new research on concussions shows the occurrence of brain injuries to high school athletes across the country is dropping, especially during practices.

High school football is still the sport with the highest rate of brain injuries to student athletes. New research published Tuesday by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows football leads all high school sports.

When looking at data provided by high school trainers across the country in 2017 and 2018, boys’ football has a rate of 10.4 concussions per 10,000 of athlete exposures. Girls’ soccer comes in second at of 8.19 concussions per 10,000 exposures. Boys’ hockey is third with a rate of 7.69 per 10,000 exposures.

Since the last research in 2014, the rate of football concussions during games has gone up, but concussions during practice dramatically dropped.

Across all sports, the number of recurrent concussions dropped during the four years from 0.47 to 0.28 per 10,000 athlete exposures.

David King of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance says the research shows new concussion protocols in high school sports are having an effect.

“So when we see the number of concussions dropping 18 percent in practices, it’s going up a similar amount in, I think 17 percent in competitions,” said King. “But, when we see that number dropping in practices, I think that’s telling that those protocol changes that they’ve made are working.”  

Some sports are surprising. For example, behind football practice, cheerleading practice has the second highest rate of concussions.

Regardless of the sport, King says parents need to talk to their kids about the importance of reporting their injuries.

“The primary thing we need is for student athletes is to be honest about what they’ve experienced in practice or in competition and then arming their parents with that information to be able to communicate,” said King. “We know that those athletes that seek that medical attention right away have the fastest and fullest recoveries.”  

King says it’s key for parents to emphasize to their kids they will be able to return the lineup faster and possibly have a longer sports career if they are honest and report their symptoms and get medical treatment.