Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Fatalities Among High School and College Football Players - United States, 2005-2014.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

An estimated 1.1 million high school and 75,000 college athletes participate in tackle football annually in the United States. Football is a collision sport; traumatic injuries are frequent (1,2), and can be fatal (3). This report updates the incidence and characteristics of deaths caused by traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury (4) in high school and college football and presents illustrative case descriptions. Information was analyzed from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research (NCCSIR). During 2005-2014, a total of 28 deaths (2.8 deaths per year) from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries occurred among high school (24 deaths) and college football players (four deaths) combined. Most deaths occurred during competitions and resulted from tackling or being tackled. All four of the college deaths and 14 (58%) of the 24 high school deaths occurred during the last 5 years (2010-2014) of the 10-year study period. These findings support the need for continued surveillance and safety efforts (particularly during competition) to ensure proper tackling techniques, emergency planning for severe injuries, availability of medical care onsite during competitions, and assessment that it is safe to return to play following a concussion.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kucera, KL; Yau, RK; Register-Mihalik, J; Marshall, SW; Thomas, LC; Wolf, S; Cantu, RC; Mueller, FO; Guskiewicz, KM

Published Date

  • January 6, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 65 / 52

Start / End Page

  • 1465 - 1469

PubMed ID

  • 28056008

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-861X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.15585/mmwr.mm6552a2


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States