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Concussions In Youth Sports: How Do They Measure Up?

The Children’s Hospital of Chicago recently shared the following infographic with XN Sports. It comes as no surprise that high school football leads the way with the highest rate of concussions in youth sports. What is interesting is that high school boys’ lacrosse and high school girls’ soccer saw a very high rate of concussions, according this data. The concussion rates in wrestling also skyrocket in college.

On December 25 the movie “Concussion” starring Will Smith will premiere. Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a pathologist, who discoverd Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Recently, Omalu wrote in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“Our children are minors who have not reached the age of consent. It is our moral duty as a society to protect the most vulnerable among us. The human brain becomes fully developed at about 18 to 25 years old. We should at least wait for our children to grow up, be provided with the information and education on the risk of play, and let them make their own decisions. No adult, not a parent or a coach, should be allowed to make this potentially life-altering decision for a child.”

It shoud be noted, however, that Omalu’s colleague, Dr. Julian Bailes, disagrees with Omalu’s assessment of the situation. Per the MetroNews of West Virginia Bailes states:

“This is like smoking so many packs of cigarettes. I think it is the exposure through the years and I think it’s primarily ones that have played many, many years,” said Dr. Julian Bailes on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

For college football players, “I think it’s (CTE) a very low risk. I think there have only been a small handful reported, found at autopsy to have these changes and, I think, the real risk is not in high school or college or youth.”

In any case, per the Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s website: “It’s important for parents and coaches of kids in all sports to be well prepared to recognize symptoms and manage concussions. While there’s risk associated with playing almost any sport, the data shows us that a few sports in particular have higher rates of concussions than others.”

concussions rates by sport

infographic on concussions in youth sports