About 1 in 5 teens has had a concussion

injured soccer player

About 20 percent of U.S. adolescents have had at least one concussion. Those teens were more likely to play competitive sports than those who never had a concussion.


Nearly 1 in 5 adolescents has suffered at least one concussion, according to a survey of U.S. teens. And 5.5 percent reported two or more concussions diagnosed in their lifetimes, researchers report in the Sept. 26 JAMA.

About 13,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders participated in the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, an annual national questionnaire of adolescent behavior and health given in schools. Among other questions, teens were asked whether they had ever had a head injury that was diagnosed as a concussion — 19.5 percent replied “yes.” Those teens were more likely than others to play competitive sports and be male, white and in a higher grade.

Previous studies have found that kids taking part in contact sports are at higher risk of suffering a concussion. These new data on actual prevalence of concussions, though self-reported, are important, say the authors, for crafting prevention efforts that protect teens from injuries.

Aimee Cunningham is the biomedical writer. She has a master’s degree in science journalism from New York University.

More Stories from Science News on Health & Medicine

From the Nature Index

Paid Content