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AAOS: Sports-Related Concussions Up in High School Girls

Soccer, basketball, cheerleading, softball, and volleyball were the activities most frequently associated with concussions

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THURSDAY, Sept. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There was a significant increase in the number of high school-age female patients presenting to the emergency department for sports-related concussions (SRCs) and closed head injuries (CHIs) between 2000 and 2019, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 in San Diego.

Kevin Pirruccio, M.D., from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to report national estimates, demographic characteristics, and trends for female patients (aged 14 to 18 years) presenting to U.S. emergency departments with SRCs and CHIs from 2000 to 2019.

The researchers noted a significant increase in emergency department visits for SRCs or CHIs during the study period (9,835 in 2000 versus 31,751 in 2019). The vast majority of girls (96.7 percent) were treated and released. The sports and recreational activities most commonly associated with concussions and CHIs included soccer (20.6 percent), basketball (18.5 percent), cheerleading (10.4 percent), softball (10.1 percent), and volleyball (6.5 percent). An increase of 10,000 annual female participants across all high school sports and recreational activities was associated with 308.7 additional annual SRC and CHI visits to the emergency department.

"Given the dramatic increase in the national burden of SRCs over the past 20 years across a broad range of sports, the promotion of impactful concussion awareness and educational programs directed toward female student athletes should be adopted as a principal agenda across all high schools in the United States," the authors write.

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