Sport-Related Concussion Prevention in High School Football: Impact of Limiting Collision Practices

Football programs report the most sports-related concussions (SRC) in high school athletics. To prevent these injuries, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) recently implemented a series of safety protocols for players at practice. A recent study led by PISC Postdoctoral Fellow Abigail Bretzin, PhD, featuring Executive Committee Member Douglas Wiebe, PhD, estimates rates of SRC in MSHAA football programs and evaluates progressive limitations to collision practices over five seasons. Data encompassing head injuries, participating athletes, and seasons, is separately collected from each school from 2015 to 2020. Results indicate that practice SRC rates are significantly lower than competition SRC rates. Moreover, SRC rates at practice during the 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 seasons are less than SRC rates at practice in the 2015-16 season. These findings indicate that the MSHAA football safety protocols have been effective in reducing concussion rates among high school football players in the state.

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