In recent research, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, high school students are more likely to suffer a concussion now than they were a decade ago.
The problem is more significant for boys in high school sports with 6 out of 10,000 high school football players suffering a concussion. Lacrosse and soccer are the next two concussion causing sports for boys. For girls soccer was the sport with the most concussions, 3 out of 10,000 with lacrosse and basketball following.
Andrew Lincoln, who heads the Sports Medicine Research Center at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, authored the study. In an interview with Reuters he says the reason for more concussions is more awareness of the symptoms, "Certainly the recognition of signs and symptoms of concussion have increased dramatically among the players, coaches, athletic trainers and physicians."
The National Federation of State High School Associations estimates more than 140,000 high school athletes suffer concussions each year.
Several states are looking into legislation to protect high school athletes on the playing field. The NFL has been instrumental in getting legislation passed. The league has implemented its own new standards and is helping lawmakers in more than a dozen states.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 135,000 children ages 5 to 18 are treated in emergency rooms each year for sports or recreation related concussions and other head trauma. Symptoms can include headache, nausea, dizziness and trouble concentrating, and may last about a week. Sometimes it can take months to recover.
Research indicates repeat concussions can lead to brain damage, depression and memory problems including Alzheimer's disease. Young athletes are believed to be more vulnerable than adults to lasting damage because their brains are still developing.