University of Irvine survey suggests that concussion is prevalent among water polo players, with 36% of participants stating that they have experienced a concussion either during the game or in practice.

The online survey, conduced by Dr Steven L. Small and James Hicks from the Department of Neurology, included more than 44,000 USA Water Polo Members.

More than 1,500 responses were received. From the responses, the researchers determined that 36% of respondents (30.8% of males and 43.5% of females) reported at least one concussion during water polo play, with an average of 2.14 concussions per person, according to a media release from University of California, Irvine.

Goalies experienced the most concussions, with 47% of respondents saying they’d experienced at least one concussion, with an average of 2.49 per person. A majority of these concussions occurred during practice rather than games, when defensive players are present and placed between offensive players and goalies.

Of respondents whose highest competition level was in high school, 31% noted at least one concussion, with an average of 1.58 per player. Of those whose highest level was in college, 51.3% had experienced at least one concussion, with a per-person average of 2.29. Among those who reached the masters club level, 43.1% disclosed at least one concussion, with a per-player average of 2.52, the release continues.

“Our results speak to the need for systematic concussion reporting in water polo. Particularly important is reporting for individuals at the college level, who have the highest prevalence of concussion,” says Small—professor of ecology & evolutionary biology at UCI and director of the Exercise Medicine & Sport Science Initiative—in the release.

Small suggests that wearing more head protection might be a benefit, and that doing so would have no adverse consequences in the competitive environment.

The study appears in Frontiers in Neurology.

[Source(s): University of California at Irvine, Newswise]