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Concussion in Football Often Occurs During Practice

Limiting player-to-player contact may reduce risk of head trauma, researchers suggest

MONDAY, May 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Data on more than 20,000 young football players across the United States reveal that more than 57 percent of concussed high school and college players were injured at practice, not games. Among youth football players, almost half of concussions were sustained during practice. These findings were published online May 4 in JAMA Pediatrics.

The study results are based on an analysis of data from three sources: the Youth Football Surveillance System; the National Athletic Treatment, Injury and Outcomes Network; and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program. The researchers found that during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, 1,198 concussions occurred — almost 12 percent of them among youth athletes, 66 percent among high school players, and 22 percent on the college field. In all, concussions accounted for 9.6 percent of reported youth injuries, 4 percent of high school injuries, and 8 percent of college injuries.

During practice, concussion rates were lower among college players than among high school players, the researchers found. In 2012 and 2013, youth football players had the lowest concussion risk — less than 4 percent both seasons. The one-season concussion risk was highest in high school at nearly 10 percent, and college players at 5.5 percent. Among children ages 5 to 7 there were no football-related concussions during the study period.

Each year, approximately three million youth athletes, 1.1 million high school athletes, and 100,000 college athletes play football, the researchers noted.

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