11/4/19: Concussion Statistics and Differences in Youth Soccer Groups
Youth concussion awareness has gained considerable interest in the past 10+ years due to an increase in youth sport participation and media presence. According to a study by Tsushima, Siu, Ahn, Chang, and Murata in February 2019, the overall incidence of concussion was 12.1% in a sample of over 10,000 youth athletes participating in five different sports.1 Furthermore, researchers determined that females were at a one and a half times higher risk than males.1 Tsushima et.al. also stated that athletes with a previous history of a concussion were three to five times more likely to receive a second concussion versus those without a history.1
Concussions result as a direct or indirect blow to one’s head causing the mildest form of a traumatic brain injury.2,3 Rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain causes a cascade of neurochemical changes that alters one’s mental status.2,3 Although most concussions within youth sports resolve within three to five days, a minority of cases can last for multiple weeks or months.
A study performed by Colven, Mullen, and Lovell in 2009 described differences in groups between youth males and females having a history of one or more concussions. 141 females and 93 males ranging from eight to 24 years old recently diagnosed with a concussion were included in this study.4 ImPACT testing consisting of reaction time, memory, and visual motor-speed exams were utilized and compared.4 Significant differences were noted as females scored worse on neurocognitive testing and reported increased negative subjective symptoms versus males.4 Furthermore, females with a history of a prior concussion performed significantly worse on ImPACT testing that those who did not.4
This research supports evidence that high-school-aged females may require a longer period of time to return to baseline function, especially those with a previous history of a concussion. Return to school functions, physical activity, and return to sport should be adjusted accordingly to accommodate these factors. Initial treatment should consist of rest followed by a gradual return to physical and cognitive activity.
1. William T Tsushima, Andrea M Siu, Hyeong Jun Ahn, Bolin L Chang, and Nathan M Murata. Incidence and Risk of Concussions in Youth Athletes: Comparisons of Age, Sex, Concussion History, Sport, and Football Position. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2019 Feb; 34(1): 60–69.
2. Christopher C. Gizacorresponding author and David A. Hovda. The Neurometabolic Cascade of Concussion. J Athl Train. 2001 Jul-Sep; 36(3): 228–235.
3. William J. Mullally. Concussion. The American Journal of Medicine. 2017 August; 130(8): 885-892
4. Colvin AC1, Mullen J, Lovell MR, West RV, Collins MW, Groh M. The role of concussion history and gender in recovery from soccer-related concussion. Am J Sports Med. 2009 Sep;37(9):1699-704