Epidemiological considerations of concussions among intercollegiate athletes

Appl Neuropsychol. 2003;10(1):12-22. doi: 10.1207/S15324826AN1001_3.


The purpose of this study was to examine epidemiological trends of concussions among 15 different intercollegiate sports during the 1997-1998, 1998-1999, and 1999-2000 seasons. Data were collected using the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Injury Surveillance System (ISS). For the 15 sports studied during the 3 academic years, the NCAA ISS documented 3,535 team-seasons, 40,547 reportable injuries, 5,566,924 practice athlete exposures (AEs), and 1,090,298 game AEs. Concussions accounted for 6.2% of all reported injuries during this 3-year study. Of all the reported injuries, women lacrosse players (13.9%) reported the highest percentage of suffering a concussion during a game followed by women's soccer (11.4%), men's ice hockey (10.3%), men's lacrosse (10.1%), football (8.8%), women's basketball, (8.5%), field hockey (7.2%), men's soccer (7.0%), wrestling (6.6%), men's basketball (5.0%), baseball (4.2%), and women's volleyball (4.1%). Female athletes from all 7 sports were found to be at a lower risk for suffering concussions during practice sessions than the 8 male sports. However, female athletes were found to be at a greater risk for suffering concussions during games compared to male athletes. Injury trends over the 3- year period indicate concussions continue to be on the rise for athletes participating in collegiate football, men's soccer, and women's and men's basketball.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data