Objective: To examine the incidence and characteristics of concussions for one season in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Design: Retrospective survey.
Participants: 289 players reporting to CFL training camp. Of these, 154 players had played in the CFL during the 1997 season.
Main outcome measures: Based on self-reported symptoms, calculations were made to determine the number of concussions experienced during the previous season, the duration of symptoms, the time for return to play after concussion, and any associated risk factors for concussions.
Results: Of all the athletes who played during the 1997 season, 44.8% experienced symptoms of a concussion. Only 18.8% of these concussed players recognized they had suffered a concussion. 69.6% of all concussed players experienced more than one episode. Symptoms lasted at least 1 day in 25.8% of cases. The odds of experiencing a concussion increased 13% with each game played. A past history of a loss of consciousness while playing football and a recognized concussion while playing football were both associated with increased odds of experiencing a concussion during the 1997 season.
Conclusion: Many players experienced a concussion during the 1997 CFL season, but the majority of these players may not have recognized that fact. Players need to be better informed about the symptoms and effects of concussions.