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Study: Concussed College Athletes Almost Twice as Likely to Experience Later Lower Extremity Injuries

A study of Division I college athletes has reinforced the idea that there’s a connection between concussion and later musculoskeletal injury, with an estimate that for as much as a year after the initial head injury, concussed athletes are nearly twice as likely to suffer an acute lower extremity injury than they were prior to the concussion.

Researchers analyzed electronic medical records of 44 concussed and 58 nonconcussed college athletes for a 2-year period that extended 1 year before and after the concussion (the nonconcussed athletes were matched with the concussed athletes over the same time period). Records were retrieved at 365 days, 180 days, and 90 days before and after the concussion, with researchers focusing on reports of acute lower extremity musculoskeletal injury that included sprains, strains, contusions, and fractures, but didn’t include chronic and overuse injuries.

Authors found no differences in injury rates between the concussed and control groups prior to concussion events, but things changed significantly after that. The study was e-published ahead of print in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.