Canadians reporting sport-related concussions: Increasing and now stabilizing
Authors: Kevin E. Gordon and Stefan Kuhle
Background: Canada is currently engaged in a national harmonization of strategies to prevent and manage sport-related concussions. Objective: To examine the annual incidence rates of reported sport-related concussions or other brain injuries by participants in the Canadian Community Health Survey, a national public health survey which provides nearly 2 decades of serial data using consistent methodology. Design: Serial cross-sectional survey. Setting: Population-based Canadian survey from 2000 to 2018 that collects data on “concussions or other brain injuries.” Participants: Respondents 12 years and older. Independent Variables: Sex and age categorized 12 to 14 years, 15 to 19 years, 20 to 29 years, and 30+ years. Outcome measures: National incidence rates of participants reporting concussions or other brain injuries occurring within the previous year while engaged in “organized sports/leisure sports or physical exercise.” Results: Data were available for 2000/01, 2003, 2005/6, 2009/10, 2013/4, and 2017/8 (N = 757-383). A previously stable annual incidence of reported sport-related concussions or other brain injuries increased nearly 2 and a half-fold from 2005/06 through 2013/14 (P < 0.0001) but seems to have stabilized recently (2013/14 vs 2017/8, P = 0.35). This trend is similar for both men and women but is manifest primarily within youth (12-19 years) as opposed to adults (>19 years). Approximately 1 in 450 Canadians 12 years and older report sport-related concussions or other brain injuries as their most significant injury associated with disability in the previous year (2017-2018: 221 per 100-000 population, 95% confidence interval: 179-264). Conclusions: In Canada, the annual incidence rates of reported sport-related concussions or other brain injuries is changing and may reflect improved reporting and recognition.
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