Rates of concussion among college students are more than twice as high as previously thought and are much more likely to happen off the sports field than on, according to a new study recently published in JAMA Network Open. The team found that among approximately 30,000 public university undergraduates, about 340 concussions were diagnosed every year, giving an incidence rate of around one in 75 students annually.
When varsity athletes were not included, 64% of concussions were found to be unrelated to sports, and the rest occurred during organized competitive sports sessions. Thirty-eight percent of concussions resulted from falls, 8.5% were caused by hits to the head, and 6.5% were the result of motor vehicle accidents. When varsity athletes were included, the incidence of sport-related concussion was 51 per 10,000 students per year, and for concussion unrelated to sport, it was 81 per 10,000 students per year. In total, the incidence of concussion was 132 per 10,000 students per year. Across all the years assessed, concussion was found to be more common in August than in any other month.