Study Shows Concussions Increase Injury Risk in Athletes


A doctor from the University of Florida in Gainesville released a study showing athletes with an increased risk in developing a lower-extremity injury when returning to the field of play after suffering a concussion. A lower-extremity injury is one that occurs below the waist, such as an injury to the knee or ankle.

Athletes who sustain concussions have a more than three and a half times risk for developing lower extremity injuries 90 days after a return-to-sport than players without a concussion, the study showed.

“These results may have clinical implications ranging from pre-season injury risk stratification to post-concussion rehabilitation practices to return to play considerations,” Daniel Herman, MD, PhD, of the University of Florida in Gainesville, said.

Herman and colleagues collected data from 49 athletes who had suffered a concussion and 90 who had not suffered a concussion. All of the athletes studied were from a NCAA Division I university between 2006 and 2011. The athletes in the study were both men and women’s lacrosse, soccer and basketball players, according to the abstract.

Researchers reviewed a 90-day period after the return-to-sport for concussed athletes and measured that time against a similar 90-day window for non-concussed athletes. Lower extremity injuries recorded were muscle strains/tears, or ligament sprains/ruptures resulting in time lost.

The odds of lower extremity injury occurring in concussed patients were 3.79 times higher than in patients who did not have concussions, despite the amount of time lost due to concussions similar in both groups.

Herman presented his research paper at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting last week in San Diego.

Tags: , ,