The Concussion Crisis: Not Just Football Any More

Concussions College

A snapshot of the expanding crisis:

Football may have the highest number of concussions by sport because of the roster size, but many other sports see higher occurrence rates per athletic exposure. According to a National Academy of Sciences report released last month, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, ice hockey, and basketball have all proved about as dangerous or more so than football in recent years. That’s why, a year after the Ivy League decreed limited contact in football practice, its members did the same for  lacrosse, soccer, and ice hockey. The league, in conjunction with the Big Ten Conference, also launched a cross-institutional research project to study the effects of head injuries in multiple sports.

Former Northwestern goalkeeper Anna Cassell describes how she had to retire from soccer after multiple head injuries:

Unfortunately, the harm of these concussions extend beyond the field. I suffered severe headaches, bouts of anxiety and depression, and balance problems, which all contributed to my falling weeks behind in my pre-med studies. As I think about this sad trend, I am struck by two things. The first is the lack of convincing research regarding concussion prevention. … I am also bothered by the lack of consequences for the opposing players who commit fouls that cause concussions. While referees are instructed to “protect the goalkeeper,” neither of the players who gave me my concussions had any sort of meaningful consequences, despite the fact that both were flagrant fouls where neither of them made any contact with the ball. While their team merely lost possession of the ball, I was losing my soccer career.

Read the related thread on head injuries in professional football here.