Concussions affect college players at high rates too, study says

July 12, 2012

As interest in concussion rates and prevention strategies at all levels continues to grow, one population that appears to have increasing head injury rates is collegiate football players. Research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Baltimore highlights that the concussion rate in three college football programs has doubled in recent years.

"We monitored concussions at three service academies in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 football seasons, and saw the combined number of reports increased from 23 to 42 in this timespan," noted Kelly G. Kilcoyne, MD, lead author from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC.

The increase comes after a 2010 NCAA concussion management initiative that requires athletic programs to report concussions signs and symptoms and then remove from play.

"The timing of the new NCAA regulations and the increase in reported concussions could certainly be attributed to under-reporting from players and coaches in the past," Kilcoyne noted. "Such an increase is still notable, and we need continued studies in football and other sports to find out more."

The study compiled concussion data from practices and games at the United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy, all Division I Athletic Programs. All patients were males between the ages of 18 and 22, with rosters having about 150 players for practices and 90 for games.

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