1 in 5 teens say they’ve had a concussion

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One in five teens report having had a concussion during their lifetime, research shows. In addition, 5.5 percent say they’ve had more than one concussion.

The study, which appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), comes at a time as interest in concussions among pro athletes—especially those in the National Football League—is rising. Little, however, is known about the prevalence of concussions among teens in the United States, says Phil Veliz, a researcher at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

Veliz and colleagues analyzed data from more than 13,088 adolescents in the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, a national study that tracks US students in grades 8, 10, and 12. The survey asked students: “Have you ever had a head injury that was diagnosed as a concussion?”

Sociodemographic variables included sex, race/ethnicity, grade level, and participation in competitive sport within the past 12 months. The group, which was 50.2 percent young women, indicated if they played at least one of 21 different sports.

The findings showed that 19.5 percent reported at least one diagnosed concussion in their lifetime, which was consistent with regional studies and with emergency department reports stating contact sports are a leading cause of concussion among teens.

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“Greater effort to track concussions using large-scale epidemiological data are needed to identify high-risk subpopulations and monitor prevention efforts,” the researchers write.

Several factors, the study notes, were associated with higher lifetime prevalence of reporting a diagnosed concussion: Being male, white, in a higher grade, and participating in competitive sports.

Source: University of Michigan