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How Often Do Concussions Occur?

Image of brain made up of text.

By Tricia Walker, ATC

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘concussion’? Probably ‘football’ or ‘football tackle’ or something related to that, right? While tackles in football certainly do account for concussions that happen among athletes, it’s important to remember that you can get a concussion playing other sports too. What are the rates of occurrence in different sports?

Concussionhoto credit: Can Stock Photo Inc. / Modestil
  • Football, Boys Ice Hockey, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, and Girls Soccer account for 67% of all concussion at the high school level
  • 79% of all high school concussions occur as a result of player to player contact
  • 66% of all concussions occur during competition
  • 62% of football concussions occur while tacking or being tackled
  • 30% of soccer concussions occur when heading the ball

Most concussions are seen after:

  • Player to player contact
  • Player to playing surface contact
  • Player to equipment contact


In a 2010 study done over a two year academic period, Certified Athletic Trainers from 100 high schools nationwide were asked to report all injuries sustained on a weekly basis to study concussion rates at the high school athletic level. They were required to report the type of injury, how it occurred, when it occurred, and in what sport the athlete was participating.


They reported 1,936 concussions. Of the 20 sports studied, concussions accounted for about 13 percent of all injuries. That’s almost 3 concussions for every 10 thousand athletes participating in a practice or a competition. The study found that football represented the greatest rate of concussions with 6.4 concussions per 10,000 athletes participating in a practice or a competition.


To round out the top five sports with the highest concussion rates: boy’s ice hockey (5.4), boy’s lacrosse (4.0), girl’s lacrosse (3.5), and girl’s soccer (3.4).]


This study found that the top five sports accounted for 1,304 (67.3%) of those concussions. Player to player contact accounted for 79% of the total number of reported concussions.


To learn more about LSTC’s Concussion Management Program, click here

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