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Football is Why High School Boys in Missouri are More Than Twice as Likely to Have a Concussion as Girls

Missouri passed the Interscholastic Youth Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act just 5 years ago. It required that any public school track athlete concussions and head injuries to learn from them and create safer practices to prevent them in the future.

Annual reports are compiled by participating schools and published on the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

When the law started, only 27% of public schools were tracking this health concern. At its peak in 2013, 98% of public high schools participated. That has dropped to 89% this past year.

Overall, reported concussions are quite low at 1.95% of the roughly 161,000 athletes that played last year.

But the number of concussions from football compared to the next highest category, soccer, is a big jump, even when you take the number of total players into consideration. It’s the primary reason why teen boys were more likely to sustain a head injury than teen girls. When you compare concussion rates between boys and girls for the same sport, the rate is actually higher for girls.

The big takeaway from this last year’s report?

High school athletes who sustain a head injury during play are recommended to take at least 5-7 days of rest from their sport. School athletics seem to be doing a good job of supporting athletes with gradual return-to-play guidelines. But these students are not taking time off of school. While parents and school officials may grimace at the idea of kids being out of school, unfortunately learning is still a brain activity that can slow down recovery after a brain injury. This year’s emphasis will be “Return to Learn”.

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