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Sports- and Physical Activity–Related Concussion and Risk for Youth Violence

  • Richard Lowry
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Richard Lowry, MD, MS, Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Northeast Mail Stop US8-6, Atlanta GA 30329.
    Affiliations
    Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa
    Affiliations
    Traumatic Brain Injury Team, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Matthew J. Breiding
    Affiliations
    Traumatic Brain Injury Team, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Thomas R. Simon
    Affiliations
    Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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Published:January 07, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2020.10.018

      Introduction

      Sports and physical activities are an important cause of traumatic brain injury among adolescents. Childhood traumatic brain injury has been associated with cognitive impairment, emotional problems, and impaired behavior control, and these neuropsychological changes may place these youth at increased risk for engagement in violence-related behaviors.

      Methods

      Data from the 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (N=14,765), a nationally representative survey of U.S. high school students, were analyzed in 2019 to examine the associations between sports- and physical activity–related concussion and violence-related behaviors occurring in the community and at school. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate sex-stratified, adjusted (for race/ethnicity, grade, athlete status, impaired cognitive functioning, feeling sad/hopeless, and current substance use) prevalence ratios. Prevalence ratios were considered statistically significant if p<0.05.

      Results

      Male students (17.1%) were more likely than female students (13.0%) to experience a sports- and physical activity–related concussion during the 12 months preceding the survey. Compared with students who did not have a concussion, those who experienced ≥1 sports- and physical activity–related concussion were more likely to be in a physical fight (male students, adjusted prevalence ratio=1.45; female students, adjusted prevalence ratio=1.55), carry a weapon (male students, adjusted prevalence ratio=1.24; female students, adjusted prevalence ratio=1.79), and fight at school (male students, adjusted prevalence ratio=1.40; female students, adjusted prevalence ratio=1.77). In addition, male students were more likely to carry a gun (adjusted prevalence ratio=1.62) and carry a weapon at school (adjusted prevalence ratio=1.73).

      Conclusions

      Although the direction of these associations is unknown, return-to-school programs may benefit from inclusion of assessment and counseling around issues of psychological and social functioning, conflict resolution, and coordination with violence prevention programs.
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