Statistics are typically a hard thing to argue with, often being objective. When dealing with the statistics pertaining to concussions, some would say that the numbers have led concussions to an “epidemic level”. According to The Centers for Disease Control, this is the case and with an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sports related concussions each year, it is a safe conclusion. These numbers do not seem to be slowing down and the only other leading variable causing traumatic brain injury is motor vehicle crashes.

Here are some more significant statistics that should be pushing us hard and fast to coming up with proactive ways to hopefully reduce the risk of sports related concussions.

-At least one player sustains a mild concussion in nearly every American football game.

-According to research by The New York Times, at least 50 youth football players (high school or younger) from 20 different states have died or sustained serious head injuries on the field since 1997.

-Anecdotal evidence from athletic trainers suggests that only about 5% of high school players suffer a concussion each season, but formal studies surveying players suggest the number is much higher, with close to 50% saying they have experienced concussion symptoms and fully one-third reporting two or more concussions in a single season.

-One study estimates that the likelihood of an athlete in a contact sport experiencing a concussion is as high as 20% per season.

-According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, there were 5 catastrophic spinal cord injuries in high school football in 2010. 67.8% of all catastrophic injuries in football since 1977 are from tackling.

-According to a study reported in the July 2007 issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine:

-Football players suffer the most brain injuries of any sport;

-An unacceptably high percentage (39%) of high school and collegiate football players suffering catastrophic head injuries (death, nonfatal but causing permanent neurologic functional disability, and serious injury but leaving no permanent functional disability) during the period 1989 to 2002 were still playing with neurologic symptoms at the time of the catastrophic event.

Football may be the first sport we think about when it comes to violent collisions. However, women’s soccer is demonstrating that concussions are plaguing other fields also. The concussion rate for women in soccer per athletic exposure is an alarming .35 and demonstrated to be rising 14% annually. One of the hypothesized theories for why women are possibly more susceptible to concussions is a smaller and weaker neck musculature.

If you are you looking for more significant information on the type of stats we’re looking at, click here. Lindsay Barton, among others, has put together a case for why we need to directly resistance train the muscles of the head and neck.

Train Hard

Adam Stoyanoff MS, CSCS