*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
On college campuses in the United States, students suffer concussions twice as often as believed, and most of those injuries occur off the playing field, new research from the University of Colorado at Boulder suggests.
“This study shows how common head injuries are among this population and that concussions are not restricted to the athletic field,” said study co-author Dr. John Breck, lead physician at CU Boulder Medical Services.
After analyzing data on about 30,000 undergraduates at the university between August 2015 and May 2018, the researchers found that about 340 concussions were diagnosed a year, a rate of about one in 75 students per year.
The findings showed that 41% of students diagnosed with a concussion said they’d had between one and three previous concussions, and 5% reported four or more.
When varsity athletes weren’t included in the analysis, 64% of concussions were non-sport-related, while the rest occurred during organized sports, such as club sports.
Falls (such as slips on the ice or crashes on skateboards) accounted for 38% of concussions, hits to the head (such as those sustained in a fight or accident) accounted for 8.5% and motor vehicle accidents accounted for 6.5%, according to the report.
When varsity athletes were included in the analysis, the rate of sports-related concussions was 51 per 10,000 students per year and the rate of non-sports-related concussions was 81 per 10,000 students per year. The overall rate was 132 per 10,000 students per year, the study authors said.
Among varsity athletes, women had a higher rate of concussion, with 54 women and 26 men sustaining concussions over two academic years.
It’s unclear why female athletes may be more susceptible to concussions than males, but differences in hormones and in neck strength and head mass may be factors, Breck suggested.
The study was published online in JAMA Network Open.