FRIDAY, Dec. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The athlete-level incidence of concussion is 5.1 percent per season for American football players aged 5 to 14 years, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Sara P.D. Chrisman, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study over two years collecting data during two 10-week fall seasons to examine concussion incidence, risk factors, duration of symptoms, and return to school and sport. A total of 863 5- to 14-year-old American football players were followed for 996 player-seasons.

The researchers found that 51 of the youth sustained a football-related concussion, for a 5.1 percent athlete-level incidence per season. The risk for sustaining incident concussion was increased for youth with a history of concussion (odds ratio, 2.2); youth with depression also had an increased risk for concussion (odds ratio, 5.6). After concussion, 50 percent of athletes returned to school and sport by three and 13 days, respectively. By three weeks, 50 percent of athletes returned to a baseline level of symptoms.

“We’re just starting to piece together how factors such as prior injury or depression may contribute to a child’s risk of concussion. Our study revealed patterns about who was most at risk for concussion, and these are areas we hope to explore in future studies,” Chrisman said in a statement.

One author is a member of the board of directors for USA Football; a second author is one of the team physicians for the Seattle Seahawks.

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