The annual number of mild head injuries among high-school varsity athletes approaches sixty-three thousand, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. By far, the most common sports-related brain injury is a concussion. The term refers to any blow to the skull that alters mental functioning. In a departure from the long-standing medical definition, a person can have a concussion without being rendered unconscious.
A study from Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System found that one in three college football players had suffered a concussion during the course of their career. One in five had suffered multiple concussions. The rate of multiple mild concussions among high-school football athletes was lower: one in thirteen. These repeated injuries can impair teenagers’ cognitive abilities for years.
Football accounts for six in ten mild brain injuries, with wrestling (one in ten) a distant second. The leading cause of concussions among high-school girls’ sports was soccer; but overall, young women sustain fewer than one-fifth the number of concussions than their male counterparts.
How Sports Injuries of The Brain and Skull Are Managed
Although there is no consensus on the proper medical protocol following a mild concussion, the American Academy of Neurology has developed a set of recommendations based on the severity (grade) of concussion, from one to three.