3. Concussions: Football vs. other sports


Many of the sports played throughout high school and college have high concussion rates. However, as shown in the chart to the right, the sports with the highest rates are football, ice hockey, wrestling and women’s soccer. Particularly in high school football has a commanding “lead” in concussions per 10,000 games and practices. In college, though, wrestling skyrockets while football decreases significantly but still remains one of the highest offenders. According to a study done by the Sports Concussion Clinic, Division of Sports Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston, football accounts for just under 57% (shown to the right in the pie chart) of concussions in high school athletes.  These rates of concussions are alarmingly high for high school in particular and given that football is also one of the most popular sports played in America the volume of high school athletes who experience concussions is also extremely high. This is a very important time for brain development as well and these concussions could lead to various problems later in life such as CTE which, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, was found in 3 of 14 high school players or 21%. That same study shows the rates of CTE in college and the NFL to be 91 and 99 percent respectively. So, even if the athlete was to escape high school unscathed and continued to pursue football then the likelihood of getting permanent head trauma skyrockets.

Youth Football

These rates of injury in football are also prevalent in youth football. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association reports that more than half of all emergency room visits by children aged 8 to 13 are due to sports-related concussions. In these ages in particular many times an appropriate medical professional, such as a nurse or athletic trainer, is not there to properly diagnose concussion symptoms so parents are left to guess what to do. This furthers the damages presented by concussions by not acting quickly enough or in some cases the child back in to “walk it off”.

Despite all of the research and data showing that concussions are very prevalent and often go untreated or even undiagnosed, many youth and high school athletes are put into football at a very young age. Even when the concussion is seen in the athlete the staff decides that it is not worth it to sit the player out of the game to give it time to properly heal and instead will put them back in during the same game they received the concussion drastically increasing the chances of obtaining an exponentially more serious, permanent head injury. Again, it cannot be stressed enough how serious the injuries can be in a brain that is still developing through the years discussed. The affects can alter not only the players’ lives but also the lives of those around them. Players have an obligation to truly think about what could happen and the risks involved in playing such a sport.




Head Case – Complete Concussion Managements. (n.d.). Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://www.headcasecompany.com/concussion_info/stats_on_concussions_sports
High School Concussions in the 2008-2009 Academic Year. (n.d.). Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0363546510376737
MS, J. M. (2017, July 25). Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Football Players. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2645104
NATA. (n.d.). Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://www.nata.org/