Study Calls For More Brain Health Education in Youth Individual Sports

Adding to this site’s data base of safety research summaries, a recent study was published in Research in Sports Medicine finding brain injury severity was worse in individual sports vs teams sports suggesting better brain health education is needed.

In the study, titled Traumatic brain injuries in paediatric patients: individual vs team sports-related hospitalizations, the authors reviewed data covering hospital admissions length of stay and cost of stay 894 youth patients. They analyzed whether they were injured in individual sports vs team sports and found that those in individual sports on average were hospitalized “significantly longer” with presumably more serious injury. The authors suggest that the worse injuries may be due to “reduced awareness and reduced compliance” with basic brain health knowledge and concussion protocols and call for better education on these fronts.

The full abstract reads as follows:


Paediatric sport participation continues to increase in the United States, with a corresponding increase in sports-related concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). It is important to recognize which sports are at elevated risk and identify risk factors for hospital admission and length of stay (LOS). Paediatric patients (ages 5–18) from 2008 to 2014 were identified from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) National Inpatient Sample (NIS). Eight hundred and ninety-four patients included those who were hospitalized with a TBI resulting from participation in an individual (451 patients) or team (443 patients) sport. We evaluated the differences in LOS and total charges between individual and team sports and found that compared to team sports, TBI patients in individual sports had significantly longer hospital stays compared to team sports (1.75 days versus 1.34 days, p < 0.001) and costlier ($27,333 versus $19,069, p < 0.001) hospital stays. This may be due to reduced awareness and reduced compliance with return-to-play protocols in individual sports. Safety education information at a young age, increased awareness of TBIs, and additional medical support for individual sports as well as team sports may help mitigate these findings.


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