Concussion Incidence and Recurrence in Professional Australian Football Match-Play: A 14-Year Analysis.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
J Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp), 2017, 2017 pp. 2831751 - ?
Issue Date:
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BACKGROUND: Concussion incidence rates in professional Australian football may be underreported due to the injury classification definition. A myriad of factors contribute to concussion risk; however, there is limited long-term surveillance in Australian football. This study analysed concussion in one Australian football team over an extended period. METHOD: Match-play concussion injuries in one team (n = 116 participants) were diagnosed and treated by the team physician over 14 years. Analysis of factors related to concussion including matches played, time of day and season, and return to play provided an insight into occurrence and recurrence rates. RESULTS: 140 concussions were recorded (17.6 per 1000 player match hours). A strong relationship was evident between matches played and concussion incidence (r = 0.70) and match conditions did not negatively affect the concussion rate. Whether an athlete returned to play in the same match or suffered a loss-of-consciousness concussion (p = 0.84), their ensuing rate of concussion was not affected. CONCLUSION: Concussion in professional Australian football was related to the number of matches played. Further, neither previous incidence nor loss of consciousness affected future concussion risk. This study provides ecologically valid evidence of the concussion incidence rate in professional Australian football and has implications for the management of athletes sustaining concussion injuries.
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