Sports are a great way for teens to meet new friends and learn skills like teamwork and leadership, but athletic activity also puts their physical health at risk. Sports are especially popular among high schoolers, but kids are getting stronger and faster as they progress through high school, and this can be a recipe for injury, particularly to the brain.
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics took a closer look at concussion rates among high school athletes to determine which sports put our teens at the greatest risk of a head injury. We take a closer look at the three high school sports with the highest concussion rates in today’s blog.
The Three Most Dangerous High School Sports For Head Injuries
Do you think you know which three high school sports are associated with the most head injuries among teens? Before you submit your guess, know that the study broke it down by girls and boys activities, so just guessing football, basketball and soccer won’t cut it, because you also have to specify boys or girls if both sexes participate in their own version of the sport. Do you have your guesses? We’ll share the answers after we explain how the data was collected.
For the study, researchers examined data on more than 9,500 concussion across 20 high school sports that occurred between the 2013-14 and 2017-18 school years. The sports examined were boys’ football, wrestling, soccer, basketball, baseball, cross country, ice hockey, lacrosse, swimming and diving, and track and field; girls’ volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, swimming and diving, track and field, and coed cheerleading.
After looking at the data, researchers uncovered that the three high school sports with the highest concussion rates were:
1. Boys’ football – 10.4 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures
2. Girls’ soccer – 8.19 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures
3. Boys’ ice hockey – 7.69 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures
Other interesting findings from the study include:
- 63.7 percent of concussions occurred during competitions.
- The only sport with more concussions during practice than competition was cheerleading.
- The three sports with the highest concussions rates during practice were boys’ football (5.01), cheerleading (3.6) and boys’ wrestling (3.12).
- Rates of recurrent concussions dropped between the 2013-14 school year and the 2017-18 school year, likely due to improved understanding of how to care for suspected concussions. All 50 states have some form of concussion legislation with minimum return-to-play guidelines for students.
If your child is showing signs of a concussion following athletic activity, remove them from the sport and have them evaluated by a specialist like Dr. Chang. Nearly 1 in 10 concussions became recurrent, which can cause problems in concentration, memory and their ability to thrive his school. Let us help get your child’s head back to full health. For more information, or for help developing a return to sport plan following a head injury, reach out to Dr. Chang and his experienced medical staff today.