Over the past decade, we have become increasingly aware of concussions. Better diagnostic screening and a more in-depth understanding of the injury has led to what some perceive as a rise in concussions in sports. In fact, concussions have always been a part of sports, today we just know about the long-term effects.
While football gets the vast majority of attention in the media, it is by no means the only sport that poses a risk of concussion. We have crunched the numbers and found the top 5 sports that are linked to concussions. But knowing you are at risk is only half the battle – you also need to know how to avoid concussions and how to spot them when they do occur. All rates are figured per 100,000 high school athletic exposures.
- American Football
Football is the poster child of concussions in sports. Nearly half of reported concussions in high school sports come from football. It also has the highest per capita number of concussions of any sport, at a rate of 70.4. Helmet to helmet contact is often considered the leading cause of concussions in football, though any hard tackle is enough to give someone a concussion.
- Men’s Ice Hockey
Another contact-heavy sport, ice hockey is the sport with the second-highest concussion rate, coming in at 54. Whether it be a hard hit while firing off a wrister in the crease or a fist fight, hockey includes plenty of hard blows to the head. There are some rules to protect hockey players, such as boarding violations and the use of elbows to hit, but concussions remain a high risk for athletes who participate.
- Men’s Lacrosse
With a surprising concussion rate of 43.3, lacrosse comes in at third on our list of sports likely to give you a concussion. Lacrosse is rarely given the attention of other sports because it has a smaller percent of the total sports-related concussions in the nation. But that’s only because it is not as widely played as some other sports like football. The numbers point to lacrosse as having a concussion problem as serious as many other sports.
- Women’s Soccer
With a concussion rate of 33, which is significantly higher than that of men’s soccer, women’s soccer is a case that shows that women inherently at more risk than men for concussions. In fact, only in lacrosse are males more likely to receive a concussion than their female counterparts. Between slide tackles, hard headers, and rough play for the ball, soccer has a concussion risk that is higher than many people assume. Couple that with a lack of protective headgear, and you have got a sport where concussions are actually quite prevalent.
- Women’s Lacrosse
Tied with women’s soccer with a concussion rate of 33, women’s lacrosse is not a sport that receives a lot of attention when it comes to sports-related concussions. However, the dangers are very real and leagues are beginning to create regulations controlling men and women’s lacrosse.
These are by no means the only sports that pose a concussion risk. All sports have their dangers. Some of the others that have a high risk of concussions are women’s field hockey (23.5), men’s wrestling (23), women’s basketball (19.8), and men’s soccer (19.1).
How To Avoid Sports-Related Concussions
There are a few steps to minimize the risk of sports-related concussions, but there is no sure-fire way to prevent them entirely. Concussions have always been a risk during sports and they will continue to be for the foreseeable future. But following the rules of your sport and wearing the proper protective headgear is essential to keeping that risk as low as possible.
Education is really the key to minimizing the concussion issue. Most concussions resolve themselves within a week or two. But nearly 1 in 10 will need more time to recover. Playing athletes that are still suffering from a concussion is highly irresponsible, as the likelihood of receiving a second concussion during this time is greatly elevated. Also, a second concussion during the recovery time of the first can lead to very serious repercussions.
How NeuroTracker May Be Able to Help
Many sports-related concussions go unreported, especially in sports like boxing and MMA, or in non-regulated sports like snowboarding and skiing. Accurately diagnosing and reporting concussions is one of the best ways to get a handle on the concussion issue. NeuroTracker is a software that can measure cognitive performance, which is one of the things that get impacted negatively by a concussion. Improving overall athletic awareness and biological motion tracking are other benefits of NeuroTracker. Establishing a healthy baseline for athletes on the NeuroTracker tests can help determine when an athlete is not performing at optimum cognitive ability which might be the result of receiving a brain injury and when they have recovered back to a healthy level where a return to play is acceptable.
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