How common is concussion?

0 5 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 8 3 3 7 7 / 100
NCAA athletes suffer a concussion per season
24.5% of teams 40.3% of teams 42.7% of teams 80.6% of teams 70.8% of teams 55.2% of teams 45.5% of teams 44.4% of teams 26.6% of teams 50.5% of teams 31.1% of teams 32.2% of teams 58.6% of teams % of teams
report at least 1 concussion per season
  • Person-based concussion rates (percent of athletes/season with a concussion) are easy to understand, but they're very influenced by roster size. A sport with a lot of bench warmers might look safer.
  • Team-based concussion rates (percent of teams/ season with at least one concussion) can be a better way of comparing across sports.
  • Keep in mind that concussion rates are based on diagnosed injuries, and many concussions go undiagnosed because athletes choose not to report.

These data come from a study by Kerr and colleagues (click here to read the full article) analyzing NCAA data from 2011 to 2015. Please recognize that there are limitations to all datasets and that these numbers may not accurately represent concussion rates at your school.

Zachary Y. Kerr, Karen G. Roos, Aristarque Djoko, Sara L. Dalton, Steven P. Broglio, Stephen W. Marshall, and Thomas P. Dompier (2017) Epidemiologic Measures for Quantifying the Incidence of Concussion in National Collegiate Athletic Association Sports. Journal of Athletic Training: March 2017, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 167-174.