NCAA Athletes & Concussions

Traumatic brain injuries finally recorded by NCAA athletic programs

(RxWiki News) Concussion rates for NCAA athletes may look like they’ve skyrocketed recently. But a new NCAA regulation could explain the bump in numbers.

Mandatory concussion reports suggested that prior to the regulation, concussions were greatly underreported.

"Go see a doctor for any head injuries!"

Kelly G. Kilcoyne, MD, from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC, led a study into the concussion rates in three college football programs. Dr. Kilcoyne said, “We monitored concussions at three service academies in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 football seasons, and saw the combined number of reports increased from 23 to 42 in this timespan.”

For the study, the research team looked at concussion data from the United States Military Academy, the United States Air Force Academy and the United States Naval Academy. Each of these institutions is NCAA Division 1. The researchers looked at concussion results from football practices and games for males aged 18-22. 

In 2010, the NCAA began a concussion management initiative to monitor and protect athletes. The initiative requires every NCAA sanctioned program to bench players with concussions and report all concussions to the NCAA.

Dr. Kilcoyne said, “The timing of the new NCAA regulations and the increase in reported concussions could certainly be attributed to underreporting from players and coaches in the past.”

“Such an increase is still notable, and we need continued studies in football and other sports to find out more.”

Concussions are difficult to treat, they can have long-term side effects, and multiple concussions can compound into serious brain injury.

This research was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) held in Baltimore, MA. July 12-15, 2012.

Review Date: 
July 23, 2012