Repeat concussions in the national football league

Ira R. Casson, David C. Viano, John W. Powell, Elliot J. Pellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Repeat concussion is an important issue in the National Football League (NFL). An initial description of repeat injuries was published for 6 years (1996-2001). Hypothesis: The characteristics and frequency of repeat concussion in the NFL have not changed in the subsequent 6 years (2002-2007). Study Design: Case control. Methods: From 1996 to 2007, concussions were reported using a standardized form documenting signs and symptoms, loss of consciousness and medical action taken. Data on repeat concussions were analyzed for the 12 years and compared between the 2 periods. Results: In 2002-2007, 152 players had repeat concussions (vs 160 in 1996-2001); 44 had 3+ head injuries (vs 52). The positions most often associated with repeat concussion in 2002-2007 were the defensive secondary, kick unit, running back, and linebacker. The odds for repeat concussion were elevated for wide receivers, tight ends, and linebackers but lower than in the earlier period. During 2002-2007, over half of players with repeat concussion were removed from play, and fewer immediately returned (vs 1996-2001). The average duration between concussions was 1.25 years for 2002-2007 and 1.65 years for the 12-year period. Over 12 years, 7.6% of all repeat concussions occurred within 2 weeks of the prior concussion. Conclusions: The defensive secondary, kick unit, running back, and linebacker have the highest incidence of repeat concussion. During 2002-2007, more than half of players with repeat concussion were removed from play, and only a fraction immediately returned. Although concussion was managed more conservatively by team physicians in the recent 6 years, repeat concussions occurred at similar rates during both periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalSports Health
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Concussion
  • Epidemiology
  • Head injury
  • Injury surveillance
  • Repeat or multiple concussions
  • Sport
  • Traumatic brain injury

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