As you might be well aware, there has been a lot of coverage in the news about the concussion risk football poses to its players. But there are a number of other sports that also contain those dangers. Here’s a list of seven sports activities you might not have been aware can cause concussions and other head injuries.
7. Auto Racing
You might not immediately think of race car driving as a sport that could cause concussions. But even in the relative safety of their metal chariots, drivers risk head injuries. Whipping through the track at extremely high speeds, they can bump their heads on the inside of the vehicle, and the sheer velocity alone can cause damage. And that is to say nothing of actually getting into a crash!
Basketball is sport that, at first glance, seems “safer” than ones more regularly associated with concussions. But it still involves a lot of running and jumping—increasing the possibility of head injury-inducing falls on hard gym or court floors. And in women’s basketball—one of the women’s sports with the highest danger of concussions—players have a greater risk of head injury from ball handling rather than defending.
We’re going to strictly talk amateur wrestling here—the world of professional wrestling is a whole separate topic in itself. But while some feel that wrestling has less of a concussion danger than football, because there are not a lot of direct blows to the head. But it’s still a full-contact sport, and moves like takedowns can pose risk. The upside is that there is more self-reporting of concussion injury in wrestling because, as one former player has noted, “there’s nowhere to hide (on the mat)”.
There is tremendous grace and elegance in the sport of gymnastics…but that does not mean it is free of concussion risk. Though it is among the lowest overall risk for concussions in sports, the ones that can occur can be very severe. Moves like flipping or a blind landing can dramatically increase the possibility of a head injury, and participants can also hit their head on a bar or the floor.
3. Roller Derby
Roller derby is an older sport that has recently seen a resurgence in popularity, especially among women. But because it’s a contact sport which includes the possibility of hits and falls, it runs the risk of head injuries. Extra care should also be taken because of the high number of females playing the game—statistically, female athletes suffer more concussions than male athletes, have more symptoms, and longer recovery times.
Like basketball, the very nature of volleyball makes it seem like a far safer sport than football or boxing. With the heavy amount of jumping, blocking, and spiking, trauma can occur getting hit in the face or head with the ball. And of course there is always the possibility of falling on a hard surface and injuring one’s head. Like roller derby, volleyball tends to be a popular sport for women, and extra awarerness of the dangers—and how concussion symptoms occasionally “present” differently in men and women—should be taken into account.
1. Horseback Riding
In April of 2016, the medical journal Neurosurgical Focus reported that horseback-riding caused the most visits to the emergency room for sports-related traumatic brain injuries. While some people may not immediately think of horseback riding as a sport in the same way they think of football or soccer, it most certainly is; containing elements of competition, technique, and occasionally very fast movement. The bottom line is that the rider is seated on a relatively independent lifeform high in the air, increasing possibilities of falling and getting thrown…and getting concussions.
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