Theadom, A., Starkey, N. J., Dowell, T., Hume, P. A., Kahan, M., McPherson, K., & Feigin, V. L. (2014). Sports-related brain injury in the general population: An epidemiological study. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 17(6), 591–596. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2014.02.001
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8918
Objectives To determine the incidence, nature and severity of all sports-related brain injuries in the general population. Design Population-based epidemiological incidence study. Methods Data on all traumatic brain injury events sustained during a sports-related activity were extracted from a dataset of all new traumatic brain injury cases (both fatal and non-fatal), identified over a one-year period in the Hamilton and Waikato districts of New Zealand. Prospective and retrospective case ascertainment methods from multiple sources were used. All age groups and levels of traumatic brain injury severity were included. Details of the registering injuries and recurrent injuries sustained over the subsequent year were obtained through medical/accident records and assessment interviews with participants. Results Of 1369 incident traumatic brain injury cases, 291 were identified as being sustained during a sports-related activity (21% of all traumatic brain injuries) equating to an incidence rate of 170 per 100,000 of the general population. Recurrent injuries occurred more frequently in adults (11%) than children (5%). Of the sports-related injuries 46% were classified as mild with a high risk of complications. Injuries were most frequently sustained during rugby, cycling and equestrian activities. It was revealed that up to 19% of traumatic brain injuries were not recorded in medical notes. Conclusions Given the high incidence of new and recurrent traumatic brain injury and the high risk of complications following injury, further sport specific injury prevention strategies are urgently needed to reduce the impact of traumatic brain injury and facilitate safer engagement in sports activities. The high levels of ‘missed’ traumatic brain injuries, highlights the importance in raising awareness of traumatic brain injury during sports-related activity in the general population.
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. © 2014 Elsevier.