From 2001 to 2009, the rate of Emergency Room visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries, rose 57% among children (age 19 or younger).1 Approximately 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year, but that number includes only athletes who lost consciousness. Since loss of consciousness is thought to occur in less than 10% of concussions, the CDC estimate is likely 10 times lower than the real number.  Estimates regarding the likelihood of an athlete in a contact sport experiencing a concussion may be as high as 19% per athlete per season.

Sport-related concussion is now widely recognized as a major public health concern in the United States and worldwide. Despite rule changes and advances in protective equipment, the incidence rate of concussion in contact and collision sports continues to be relatively high. Overall, concussionsare one of the most common injuries in many amateur and professional sports. Of all sports, football has the highest absolute number of concussions each year because of the large volume of participants at the high school and collegiate levels. Recent epidemiological and prospective clinical studies estimate that approximately 3% to 8% of high school and collegiate football players sustain a concussion each season, and 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a concussion during the season. Of greater concern is the trend toward an increasing rate of concussion in collegiate football over the last 7 years.2,3

It is now recognized that girls’ soccer represents the second highest percentage of contact sports athletes sustaining concussions, second in frequency only to boys’ football4, with some recent data suggesting the occurrence of concussions in girls playing soccer may be as high as 25% of players per year.4

Among people 15 to 24 years old, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of TBI.1


  1. Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Fact Sheet. Retrieved June 1, 2015 from Center for Disease Control and Prevention website: www.cdc.gov.
  2. Sports Concussion Statistics. Retrieved June 1, 2015 from Head Case website: www.headcasecompany.com.
  3. Concussion Statistics. Retrieved June 1, 2015 from The Concussion Place website: www.theconcussionplace.com.
  4. Handmaker H. Personal Communication.

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