|Survey Tackles Football Concussions|
|October 18, 2000|
The power of a running back charging up the middle of the field.
The quickness of a linebacker pouncing on a fumble.
The crushing tackle by a cornerback in the open field.
These are some of the plays that make up the game of football and illustrate that football is a major contact sport. As a result of this contact, football is also a game of injuries.
The ConcussionOne type of injury suffered by football players is a concussion. A concussion is defined as an impact to the head that causes a change in mental status. Changes in mental status include memory problems, dizziness, headaches, confusion, and blurred vision or even loss of consciousness. These symptoms may last a few minutes or many days. Not all people who have concussions lose consciousness.
The SurveyAlthough football players wear helmets and other protective equipment, many players still suffer concussions. Studies published over the last 20 years indicate that 15-20% of high school football players (200,000-250,000 players) suffer concussions each year. However, because of recent rule changes and better safety equipment, a new study was performed to determine if there were changes in the incidence of concussions in high school and college football players. Researchers at the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina analyzed data from 242 schools and 17,549 football players.
How often do football players suffer concussions?Researchers found that 888 players (5.1%) had at least one concussion in a season.
Of the 888 players who had one concussion, 131 of them (14.7%) had another concussion the same season.
What are the symptoms suffered by players with concussions?The most common symptoms of players with concussions were: headaches (86%), dizziness (67%), confusion (59%), disorientation (48%), blurred bision (35.5%), amnesia (27.7%), loss of consciousness (8.9%)
Many headaches (28%) cleared up after 24 hours. However, 10% of the headaches lasted longer than 5 days.
Players who had a second concussion within a year of their first injury had more severe symptoms the second time.
Which players suffer concussions?High school and college division III players had a higher incidence of concussions than division II and division I (larger schools) players.
Defensive backs, offensive linemen and linebackers were injured more frequently than players in other positions.
Special teams players and wide receivers suffered more severe concussions than other players.
When do players suffer concussions?Most (59.9%) of the concussions occurred during games rather than during practice.
Concussions occurred when players collided with:
Head contact with artificial turf was more likely to cause concussions than natural grass. Head contact with artificial turf tended to cause more severe concussions than natural grass.
Approximately one-third of the players who suffered a concussion returned to play on the same day they were injured. These players were held out of the game for an average of only 13 minutes.
"Heads Up" on ConcussionsThis new report reveals that football players suffer fewer concussions compared with those of 20 years ago. The authors provide several possible explanations for this decreased incidence of head injury:
Even though concussions appear to have decreased in the number and severity over the last few years, the overall number of head injuries is still high. Moreover, players who have one concussion are approximately three times more likely to have a second concussion the same season than those players who have not had an injury. Several well-known professional football players (for example, Steve Young and Troy Aikman) have suffered multiple concussions during their careers. Head injuries jeopardize not only football players' careers, but their future health.
Football is a game played by many people at multiple levels (e.g., Pop Warner, high school, college, professional). As with other contact sports, football carries the risk of injury. It is best that players, parents, coaches, trainers and physicians know these risks and that they work to avoid injury so a player can enjoy a long, healthy career off as well as on the girdiron.
National Football League (NFL) - through week 10 of the 2000
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 7, 2000, page C1
|Troy Aikman||Quarterback||Week 1; 9/3/2000||Cowboys|
|Akili Smith||Quarterback||Week 1; 9/3/2000||Bengals|
|Frank Wycheck||Tight End||Week 4; 9/24/2000||Titans|
|Antonio Freeman||Wide Receiver||Week 6; 10/8/2000||Packers|
|Santana Dotson||Offensive Tackle||Week 6; 10/8/2000||Packers|
|Cletidus Hunt||Defensive End||Week 6; 10/8/2000||Packers|
|Brock Huard||Quarterback||Week 8; 10/22/2000||Seahawks|
|Jon Kitna||Quarterback||Week 8; 10/22/2000||Seahawks|
|Chris Chandler||Quarterback||Week 10; 11/5/2000||Falcons|
|Charlie Batch||Quarterback||Week 10; 11/5/2000||Lions|
|Did you know?||In 1904, US President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to outlaw football after 19 college football players were killed or paralyzed from brain or spinal cord injuries. (Statistic from Maroon et al., Neurosurgery, 47:659-672, 2000.)|
|Grades of Concussion|
From Neurology, 48:581-585, 1997
Symptoms: Transient confusion; inattention, poor concentration; no loss of consciousness; symptoms clear up in less than 15 minutes.
Recommendations: remove from game; examine immediately and at 5 minute intervals; can return to play if symptoms clear up within 15 minutes. If player suffers a second concussion in the same game, the player should not return to play for a week after the symptoms clear up.
Symptoms: Same as Grade 1, but symptoms last longer than 15 minutes.
Recommendations: remove from game and not allow the player back into the game that day; examine frequently; reexamine the following day by a trained person; return to play after one week without symptoms. If a player suffers a second Grade 2 concussion, the athlete should not return to play for at least two weeks without symptoms. A player should not return to play for an entire season if that player has an abnormal brain scan.
Symptoms: ANY (seconds or minutes) loss of consciousness
Recommendations: get player to emergency room; perform immediate neurological examination and at daily intervals. After a brief (seconds) Grade 3 concussion, athletes should not return to play for one week after symptoms have cleared up; after a prolonged (minutes) Grade 3 concussion, athletes should not return to play for two weeks after symptoms have cleared up. If a player suffers a second Grade 3 concussion, the athlete should not return to play for at least one month without symptoms.
Reference and Further Information:|
|They said it!||"Football
isn't a contact sport, it's a collision sport. Dancing is a
--- Vince Lombardi, professional football coach (in Sports in America) by J. Michener
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