Most Concussions Happen During Sports Practice, Not Actual Games

Did you know that most teen concussions happen during practice, not actual games?

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Out of all the sports that teen athletes play, football has proven to be among the most dangerous. Football players suffer more head injuries than their peers—accounting for 47 percent of all sports-related concussions. While that doesn't necessarily mean we should ban the sport entirely, it proves why sports safety should be a top priority for the coaches, teachers, and parents of adolescent athletes.

If sports are played properly, they can actually have lifelong benefits. A recent study found that girls who play sports as teens may live longer lives and be less likely to get cancer. But when playing those sports, helmets and safety are key. Researchers at New York Institute of Technology warn that most concussions happen during practice, not the games themselves.

Dr. Hallie Zwibel, acting director for New York Institute of Technology Center for Sports and Wellness, explains in a press release:

For student-athletes, it's important to know the signs and symptoms of concussion, work on your balance and muscle strength, be aware of where you are in the space of a playing field or court and the actions you're taking, and of course making sure your helmet fits properly, is well-maintained and is worn correctly.

If you do suspect a concussion, it's important to take proper precautions by having the athlete sit out the rest of the game (or practice) and seek evaluation within 24 hours. For more about sports safety—including overuse injuries—the "Broken Athletes" story from the April issue of Choices is a great place to start.

As for the dangers of football, two teens weigh in about whether football should be banned in our latest debate. For more content from Choices' brand-new September issue, click here!