Concussion researchers: Limit player contact during football practice

Indianapolis – Player-to-player contact should be limited during football practice to reduce the risk of concussion among athletes, according to the results of a new study.

Researchers from the Datalys Center for Sports Injury and Research Prevention Inc. examined nearly 1,200 concussion cases suffered by youth, high school and college athletes during the 2012 and 2013 sport seasons.

High school athletes experienced most of the concussions (795), followed by college athletes (262) and youth athletes (141). Youth athletes had the lowest risk of concussion at 3.53 percent; the risk was higher among high school players (9.98 percent in 2012) and college players (5.54 percent).

Among high school and college football players, a slight majority of concussions (57.7 percent and 57.6 percent, respectively) occurred during practices; among youth players, a little less than half of concussions (46.1 percent) were sustained during practice.

Researchers suggested coaches use strategies to reduce the risk of concussions during practice, including limiting player-to-player contact and other behaviors that could cause injuries.

The study was published online May 4 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.