Aside from automobile accidents, sports are the leading cause for concussions and head injuries among teens and young adults. Even though we’re doing a better job of preventing and monitoring for concussions during practices and games, head injuries are still occurring at an alarming rate in athletic activities. But which sports have the highest rates of concussions? We take a look at concussion rates by sports.
Concussions and Sports
Researchers out of the University of Calgary examined sports data and medical documentation of 13 previous studies to determine which sports leave a person most at risk for a concussion. You may believe that football was the most dangerous sport, but you’d be wrong. Researchers found that rugby was by far the most dangerous youth sport. Here’s what they uncovered:
Young athletes averaged approximately one concussion for every 5,000 minutes of sport participation time.
The concussion rate was about 18 times higher than average for rugby, five times greater for hockey and nearly double for football.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, volleyball, baseball and cheerleading were the sports with the lowest concussion rates.
Senior study author said Paul Ronksley said the sports with the highest rates of concussions all share a similar theme – physical contact.
“This is likely because rugby, hockey and American football are all sports that involve more frequent contact to the body and head,” said Ronksley. “Contact sports such as these pose a greater risk to athletes for sustaining head trauma while activities such as volleyball, baseball and cheerleading inherently involve less contact or opportunity for both purposeful and accidental collision between players.”
Tamara Valovich McLeod, who also worked on the study, said the findings suggest that concussions are more common in contact sports, but all sports pose a risk.
“Concussions can occur in any sport,” said Mcleod. “It makes sense with higher levels of contact to have higher concussion rates, but that doesn’t mean kids should stop playing sports.”