(HealthDay News) — Data on more than 20,000 young football players across the United States reveal that more than 57% of concussed high school and college players were injured at practice, not games. Among youth football players, almost half of concussions were sustained during practice. These findings were published online May 4 in JAMA Pediatrics.

The study results are based on an analysis of data from three sources: the Youth Football Surveillance System; the National Athletic Treatment, Injury and Outcomes Network; and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance Program. The researchers found that during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, 1,198 concussions occurred – almost 12% of them among youth athletes, 66% among high school players, and 22% on the college field. In all, concussions accounted for 9.6% of reported youth injuries, 4% of high school injuries, and 8% of college injuries.

During practice, concussion rates were lower among college players than among high school players, the researchers found. In 2012 and 2013, youth football players had the lowest concussion risk – less than 4% both seasons. The one-season concussion risk was highest in high school at nearly 10%, and college players at 5.5%. Among children ages 5–7 there were no football-related concussions during the study period.

Each year, approximately three million youth athletes, 1.1 million high school athletes, and 100,000 college athletes play football, the researchers noted.

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