Posted on Jun 25, 2018

Contact Sports Account for Only 40% of Youth Concussions

The Texas Chiropractic Association (TCA) works to enhance chiropractic practice in Texas.  Attention to education and public health is one of the service points of the TCA.  The findings of a new study indicate that only a minority of all concussions in children are the result of contact sports.   

“While sports concussions have been important in raising awareness of concussions, it is important to remember that many nonsports/life activities can result in concussion as well and that it is a common injury in childhood and not just in sports,” the senior study author reported.

Researchers examined the mechanism of injury for concussion in children aged 0 to 17 years seen for at least one clinical visit with an International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modificationdiagnosis of concussion between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2014. Of 8233 selected, 20% were randomly selected for manual record review.

Although most concussions (70%) were related to sports and recreation activities, 30% were due to nonsports and nonrecreational mechanisms, including falls, motor vehicle crashes, and assault.

Notably only 40% of all concussions were from contact sports, including football, soccer, basketball, and hockey. The remaining concussions occurred in limited or noncontact sports and recreation activities (playground, recess, gym) and nonsports and nonrecreation activities.

The mechanism of injury varied considerably by age. Sports and recreation-related activities become the primary source of concussions beginning at age 6, increase in proportion up to age 10, remaining constant until age 16, then take a small dip at age 17.

“This study tells us that we need to extend traumatic brain injury prevention and management outside of youth sports to ensure all children who sustain a concussion receive the necessary care to return to daily childhood activities including school and play,” the lead author concluded.  “It’s important to remember that life concussions can also have a big impact on return to activities, similar to sports concussion, and should receive as much attention and active management as sports concussion."

With recent emphasis on sports-related concussion, caregivers and teachers should also be aware of the same signs and symptoms of concussion that also occur out of the context of sports.  When a child in elementary grades suffers concussions, the child should also be excluded from recess activities as part of the instructions while awaiting concussion symptoms to resolve.  Recess involves activity with other children and playground activities. Additionally, children's use of helmets to mitigate head injury while using mobile recreational devices (eg bicycles, skateboards, skates, hover boards) should be promoted.


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