Concussions in Lacrosse: A 10-Year National Epidemiologic Study
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Concussions are recently becoming an important topic of study due to their high prevalence, especially in athletics. Sports like football have received much media attention as cases of serious and long-term effects are becoming more frequent. Lacrosse is another sport that is of interest for study because, although it could be considered America's oldest sport, participation has significantly increased in recent years. A particularly interesting feature of lacrosse is that the rules differ greatly between men and women, which may lead to differences in injury prevalence. Concussion data was collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) in order to assess concussion trends in lacrosse. Specifically, concussion prevalence will be compared between men and women, as will all lacrosse concussions be to data collected for football in order to provide perspective. Our findings show that concussions in lacrosse significantly increased between 2004 and 2014. Concussions in men's lacrosse represent roughly three-quarters of all concussions in lacrosse. The proportion of concussions in relation to all lacrosse injuries also increased, likely due to increased awareness and diagnosis. Initiatives employed by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aiming to raise awareness of concussions may be responsible for this increase. The National Football League (NFL) is another organization that is responsible for similar initiatives, including some that aim to decrease concussion occurrence. Specifically, the NFL has made changes to rules, encouraged stricter enforcement of the rules by officials, raised expectations for players to play within the rules, and raised expectations for disciplinary actions of players or coaches who fail to play or coach within the rules. This study can provide an update to the epidemiology of concussions in lacrosse, as well as suggestions for future actions for reducing concussions in lacrosse. By using the initiatives employed by governing bodies of other sports, such as the NFL, lacrosse organizations may be better able to protect players from suffering concussions.