University of New Hampshire
McNair Scholar, 2023
Major: Health Sciences
Mentor: Dr. Trish Kelshaw
Research Title: The Epidemiology of Concussion in Collision Sports Among Middle School Athletes
The research regarding the epidemiology of concussions in U.S. middle school athletes is limited and underrepresented. Prior research on high school and collegiate athletes suggests that those who participate in contact/collision sports are at a higher risk of concussions. However, the risk of concussions in middle school sports is not well understood. This study aims to compare concussion incidence (i.e. rates) among three groups of sports. Group definitions are consistent with the NCAA classifications and defined as contact/collision, contact, and limited contact sports. It is important to compare concussion rates among these three categories of sports (i.e. limited contact, contact, and contact/collision) to bring more awareness of characterizing potential negative influences on the brains of these young athletes. Concussion data were collected by certified athletic trainers for all middle school-sponsored sports events in a public school division over six school years (2015-16 to 2021-22; excluding 2020-21 due to COVID-19). A retrospective descriptive epidemiological study will then be conducted on a large middle school epidemiological database. This study will examine concussion rates among middle school athletes (grades 6 to 8; 10-14 years old) across sixteen middle schools in Virginia, and hope to conclude the difference between rates of limited contact, contact, and contact/collision sports.