Incident Concussion 5.1% Per Season for Youth Football

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Risk increased for youth with depression or history of concussion.
Risk increased for youth with depression or history of concussion.

HealthDay News — The athlete-level incidence of concussion is 5.1% per season for American football players aged 5 to 14 years, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Sara P.D. Chrisman, MD, MPH, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study over 2 years collecting data during 2 10-week fall seasons to examine concussion incidence, risk factors, duration of symptoms, and return to school and sport. A total of 863 5- to 14-year-old American football players were followed for 996 player-seasons.

The researchers found that 51 of the youth sustained a football-related concussion, for a 5.1% athlete-level incidence per season. The risk for sustaining incident concussion was increased for youth with a history of concussion (odds ratio, 2.2); youth with depression also had an increased risk for concussion (odds ratio, 5.6). After concussion, 50% of athletes returned to school and sport by 3 and 13 days, respectively. By 3 weeks, 50% of athletes returned to a baseline level of symptoms.

"We're just starting to piece together how factors such as prior injury or depression may contribute to a child's risk of concussion. Our study revealed patterns about who was most at risk for concussion, and these are areas we hope to explore in future studies," Chrisman said in a statement.

One author is a member of the board of directors for USA Football; a second author is one of the team physicians for the Seattle Seahawks.

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