Traumatic Brain Injuries: Sports

By Breanna, Cece, and Andrew

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.


  • Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a traumatic brain injury.
  • Those who survive a TBI can face effects lasting a few days to disabilities which may last the rest of their lives.
  • Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression).
  • These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities.

Leading Causes of TBI

In the U.S., an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year.

Leading causes include falls, traffic accidents, assault, and being struck by or against an object — such as another person, a wall, or a falling object. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there are:

  • 595,095 fall-related TBIs
  • 292,202 motor vehicle/traffic related TBIs
  • 279,882 struck by/against events
  • 169,625 assault-related TBIs
  • 199,447 unknown causes
  • 155,255 injuries classified as “other “

Football (Andrew)

Wrestling (Andrew)

Hockey (Andrew)

Volleyball (Cece)

  • Rate of concussions per 100,000: 6-8.6
  • Out of six cases of mild traumatic brain injuries, four of the six cases occurred in practice while two of the six cases occurred in games
  • Three of the six cases were caused by collision with the ball
  • Two of the six cases were caused by digging
  • One of the six cases was caused by collision with a player
  • One day is the medium time lost due to a MTBI
  • In 3 seasons, there were six cases of different players sustaining a MTBI

Basketball (Cece)

Rate of concussions per 100,000: 18.6-21

Cheerleading (Cece)

Rate of concussions per 100,000: 11.5-14

Gymnastics (Cece)

Rate of concussions per 100,000: 7

Bicycling (Breanna)

Boxing (Breanna)

Baseball/Softball (Breanna)