Pre-College Youth Sports Concussions Occur More Often During Practice

Thomas P. Dompier, PhD, ATC President and Injury Epidemiologist Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, Inc Indianapolis, IN 46202 Adjunct Faculty Appointments Ohio University Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions University of South CarolinaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Thomas P. Dompier, PhD, ATC
President and Injury Epidemiologist
Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, Inc
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Adjunct Faculty Appointments
Ohio University Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions
University of South Carolina

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

D: Dompler: Per the Institute of Medicine’s recent recommendations to better describe the incidence of concussion in sport across the entire spectrum of youth sports (5-23 years), this study is the first to provide an apples-to-apples comparison using epidemiologic data provided by healthcare providers (athletic trainers) who attended all practices and games and used the same methodology to report concussions and student-athlete exposure information.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

D: Dompler:
a.  The main findings are that the risk (how many players out of 100 can expect to suffer at least one concussion during the season) is lowest in the youth, and increases with age.

b. Game concussion rates (how many players out of 1000 exposed during a practice or game, includes multiple concussions to the same player) are highest in college but practice concussion rates are lowest in college during practice.  This suggests more can be done during high school and youth practices to reduce concussion frequency (e.g. limiting how much time can be devoted to full contact, reducing player-to-player contact by teaching proper tackling without using full contact drills such as the Oklahoma drill and others).

c. While the rate is higher, there is still a substantial number of concussions that occur during practice (because there are more practices), therefore sports medicine staff should be available at both if possible (this is difficult at the youth level because of cost, however).

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

D: Dompler:   We didn’t see any concussions in the 5-7 year olds despite over 7,000 exposures, but we are unsure if this is because there were none, or perhaps the 5-7 year olds do not know to report symptoms in absence of any observable symptoms such as unconsciousness.  Clinicians should consider this when examining the youngest youth players.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

D: Dompler:
a.       Future research should consider both boys and girls sports such as lacrosse, soccer, ice hockey, and many others.  At the Datalys Center, we currently have a mirror study ongoing in boys and girls lacrosse in players 9-23 years old.

b.     Additionally, future research should consider strategies for lowering the rate of concussion during practices, particularly at the youth and high school level.

Citation:

Dompier TP, Kerr ZY, Marshall SW, et al. Incidence of Concussion During Practice and Games in Youth, High School, and Collegiate American Football Players. JAMA Pediatr. Published online May 04, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0210.

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas P. Dompier, PhD, ATC (2015). Pre-College Youth Sports Concussions Occur More Often During Practice