Laws aimed at addressing concussions in youth sports help reduce the rates of recurrent concussions, according to a new study published today in the American Journal of Public Health. The study finds a significant decrease in the rate of recurrent concussions among high school athletes—meaning the athlete had experienced at least one previous concussion. The trend toward decreasing recurrent concussion rates was first seen a little more than two and a half years after the enactment of now-common state-level laws that address removal from play, requirements for clearance to return to play after a concussion, and annual education of coaches, parents and athletes.
During the 11-year period studied, the researchers find a national estimate of nearly 2.7 million concussions, or 671 concussions per day among US high school athletes participating in at least one of the nine sports included in the study. Concussions were more frequently reported during competitions rather than during practice. Football accounted for roughly half of all reported concussions in this study. In gender-comparbale sports, girls’ sports had consistently higher concussion rates than boys’ sports over time.