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High School Athletes Are Scoring Concussions at Alarming Rates

High school football players and female athletes are suffering an alarming rise in the number of concussion injuries. It is a disturbing finding because it shows that the efforts of coaches, CHSAA, and equipment manufacturers may not be enough to keep football players and other high school athletes safe from these potentially debilitating injuries.

Researchers studied the rate of concussions in 20 different high school sports from 2013 to 2018. In all, 9.542 concussions were recorded. This represented a rate of 4.17 per 10,000 student athletes. Football players had the highest rate of all sports, coming in at 10.4 per 10,000 athletes. However, that is an average that also includes practice-related concussions. When looking at competition-related concussions, the rate skyrockets to as much as 39 per 10,000 athletes.

Moreover, while much of the attention has focused on protecting male football players, the data shows that far more attention needs to be put forth toward female dominant sports. Overall, female high school athletes had a rate of 3.35 concussions compared to 1.51 per 10,000 male athletes. More alarming is that female athletes had a higher proportion of concurrent concussions at 9.3% per 10,000 athletes, compared to male athletes who had a concurrent concussion rate of 6.4% per 10,000 athletes.

This data should concern all parents in Colorado. In particular, parents whose children play ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and other sports where physical contact with other players can result in a concussion.

While state law and CHSAA rules require annual concussion recognition education, the data on concussion injuries shows this may not be enough to keep students safe. Likewise, while helmet design and protective equipment are marketed as having the ability to provide better protection, the data shows that this may not be the case. If better recognition and better equipment were working, then high school concussion rates should be going down. Instead, they are going up. Parents should keep this in mind as their children suit up for competitions, even socially distant ones this coming school year.

The team at Sloat, Nicholson, and Hoover, P.C. invites you to contact us at (303) 447-1144 for more information about high school concussion injuries. It is our pleasure to help guide you through your legal options following a sports-related injury in Boulder or along the Front Range.

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