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Report: 3,000 Minn. Athletes Concussed Last Year

Updated: 09/04/2014 5:34 PM
Created: 09/04/2014 5:47 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Matthews

A new report shows hockey and football players have the highest concussion rates in Minnesota high school sports.
    
The report released Thursday is based on data the Minnesota Department of Health collected from 36 Twin Cities-area schools during the last academic year. It estimates 3,000 high school athletes were concussed statewide last year.
    
Concussions were once considered part of the game, but schools and sports leagues have begun taking steps to protect players. Minnesota lawmakers passed a bill in 2011 requiring coaches to remove young athletes from the game if they show concussion symptoms.
    
Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger says their research should be a signal to coaches and parents that concussions need to be taken seriously. State officials plan to expand their research to schools statewide this year.

KSTP Health Expert Dr. Archelle Georgiou weighed in on what the report means, and how serious the problem is.

She says the report is frightening, because it means that one of every hundred high school athletes experiences a concussion every year. Also, if a child participates in two sports, their risk is doubled.

Dr. Georgiou says the national average for the number of concussions per school is 19, so Minnesota's average of 22 is a high number. The report also underestimates the total number of concussions happening in the state, because it excludes private schools and information on younger kids. Plus, the report included only concussions that are noticed.

The Associated Press Contributed to this Story.

This handout photo provided by the Southern Impact Research Center in Tennessee, taken June 18, shows equipment that can test how football helmets perform against certain concussion-causing forces.
Photo: AP/Handout

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