Sports concussions increase injury risk, new study finds

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Concussions are an unfortunate reality in contact sports at the junior and senior levels. Now, sports experts at the University of South Australia say adolescent athletes who suffer head injuries should be encouraged to recover, as new research shows that concussions may increase the risk of future injuries by 50%. It suggests that it may be necessary to extend the time until

Published in Journal of Sports Science and Medicinethe world’s first study, tracked and assessed the long-term effects of concussion and subsequent injury risk in 1,455 semi-elite Australian Rules Football junior players.

This builds on previous UniSA research that found that Australian Rules Football sub-elite players returning from injury had an approximately 1.5 times higher risk of injury than non-injured players.

Researchers who tracked injuries over seven seasons also found that soccer players who had concussions were about 1.5 times more likely to be injured again in the future than those who were not injured. This increased risk was the same for athletes returning from upper and lower extremity injuries.

The findings precede the Australian Senate’s report on concussion injuries and follow AFL’s publication of a $25 million study on the long-term effects of concussions and head contusions.

Concussions are one of the most common injuries in the AFL, with an average of 6 concussions occurring every 1,000 hours played, and approximately 70-80 male players sustain concussions each year.

In junior elite football, the AFL, and the AFLW, concussion guidelines state that a player can return to play after a concussion a minimum of 12 days after injury, followed by a gradual progression through a return-to-play program. .

UniSA’s lead researcher, Dr. Hunter Bennett, said the greater risk of post-concussion injury means that some players need longer recovery times to better recover before returning to play. He said it may have been suggested.

“The current recommendation of 12 days post-concussion may not be sufficient to allow full recovery in elite soccer players under the age of 18,” says Dr. Bennett.

It may also indicate a need for a more thorough assessment of the physical properties affected by concussion before an athlete is cleared to return to sport.

“Concussion is a common injury in Australian Rules Football and can cause impairment of balance, coordination, reaction time and decision-making, and these impairments can lead to other injuries if the athlete returns to play before they have fully recovered. may increase your risk of injury.”

A recent consensus statement on concussions in sports also indicates that children and adolescents may take up to 4 weeks to recover from sports-related concussions.

“Concussion is a unique injury that occurs without muscle tissue damage, instead affecting aspects of motor control,” says Dr. Bennett.

“Recurring injuries can have a significant impact on team success, player health and career longevity.

“In elite sports, young athletes may overemphasize their readiness to return to sport after injury, worrying that missing games will result in exclusion from senior drafts and competition.

“Knowing that athletes are at increased risk of another injury after a concussion suggests a unique and careful rehabilitation strategy to monitor whether athletes are fully recovered and ready to return to play. suggests that it is necessary to

The researchers say future research should aim to identify the optimal rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies for athletes suffering from concussion.

For more information:
Hunter Bennett et al, Impact of concussion on subsequent injury risk in elite Australian football players. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2023.03.013

Magazine information:
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine

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