A first-of-its-kind survey has confirmed what some water polo players – especially goalies – have long suspected: Concussions seem to be prevalent in the sport. More than a third of water polo participants reported sustaining a concussion either during games or in practice, according to a poll conducted by University of California, Irvine researchers. Results appear online in Frontiers in Neurology.
Thirty-six percent of respondents (30.8 percent of males and 43.5 percent of females) reported at least one concussion during water polo play, with an average of 2.14 concussions per person. Among player positions, goalies logged the highest rate of head injury. Forty-seven percent said they’d suffered at least one concussion, with an average of 2.49 concussions per person. Of respondents whose highest competition level was in high school, 31 percent noted at least one concussion, with an average of 1.58 per player. Of those whose highest level was in college, 51.3 percent had experienced at least one concussion, with a per-person average of 2.29. Among those who reached the masters club level, 43.1 percent disclosed at least one concussion, with a per-player average of 2.52.