Research from Ohio State University using data on nine team sports reveals that concussion rates in US high school athletes has more than doubled between 2005 and 2012. The research team analyzed data from the High School Reporting Information Online (HS RIO) sports injury surveillance system. The system contains data from a representative sample of 100 US high schools that have at least one certified athletic trainer on staff. During the 7 year time period, the system captured 4,024 concussions suffered by athletes in nine different sports.

The nine sports included: boys football, boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys and girls basketball, boys wrestling, boys baseball and girls softball. Among the injuries tracked by the system, reportable concussions were those that required medical attention and resulted in a restriction on athlete participation for one or more days. Criteria were expended in 2007-2008 to report concussions regardless of play restrictions.

The data indicated that the concussion rate increased from .23 to .51 concussions per 1,000 athlete exposures, which is defined as one athlete participating in one competition or practice.

According to the Ohio State University news release, the results of the study also show that in addition to the overall doubling of concussion rates, the rates of the head injuries increased significantly in five sports:  football, boys basketball, boys wrestling, boys baseball and girls softball. The other four sports showed an upward trends in concussion rates, but the increases could have occurred by chance. Football had the highest concussion rate among these nine sports.

Joseph Rosenthal, MD, lead author of the study, says, “Our theory is that more people are looking for concussions, and athletes, parents and coaches are being educated on the symptoms and importance of removal from participation, as well as treatment. There is a greater emphasis on monitoring for injury.”

Source: Ohio State University