-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Youth football players are
much more likely to suffer concussions in games than during
practice, and older players have a much higher risk of concussion
than younger players, a new study finds.
Researchers looked at nearly 500 players, aged 8 to 12, on 18
teams in four youth tackle-football leagues. During the study
period, 20 players suffered concussions. Eighteen of the
concussions occurred during games and two during practice.
The incidence rate during games was about twice as high as
previously reported, while the practice rate was comparable or
lower than reported in previous studies. Overall, players in this
study were 26 times more likely to suffer a concussion in a game
than in practice, according to Anthony Kontos and colleagues from
the University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University.
Most of the concussions involved helmet-to-helmet contact, and
95 percent involved players at skill positions such as running back
or quarterback, according to the study, which was published June 6
Journal of Pediatrics.
The researchers also found that players aged 11 and 12 were
nearly three times more likely to suffer a concussion than players
aged 8 to 10.
About 3 million American youngsters participate in tackle
football. In response to concerns about concussions, contact
practice time was limited by Pop Warner, the largest youth football
organization in the country.
Contact practice time is when proper tackling technique can be
taught and reinforced in a controlled environment, Kontos said.
"Limiting contact practice in youth football may not only have little effect on reducing concussions, but may instead actually increase the incidence of concussions in games via reduced time learning proper tackling in practice," he said in a journal news release.
A better way to reduce concussions in youth football may be to
focus on awareness and education among youth football
administrators, coaches, parents and players, Kontos said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
concussions in youth sports.
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