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Study: College Football Players Don’t Take Injuries Serious

January 4, 2021 / FootballSports Medicine
According to a recent study, the majority of college football players aren’t concerned with concussion risks and injury during gameplay.

The study, ‘Accuracy of U.S. College Football Players’ Estimates of Their Risk of Concussion or Injury’,  was published on the JAMA Network Open and surveyed 296 college football student-athletes from ‘Power Five’ conference schools. They found that between 43 and 91 percent of student-athletes polled underestimated their risk of general injury. Additionally, the study found that between 42 and 63 percent underestimated their risk of concussion while playing sports.

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Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Researchers first modeled each athlete’s estimated risk of injury and concussion and then compared those estimates to each respondent’s answers and perceptions.

Assistant professor of medicine Christine Baugh and her team admit that it’s human nature to underestimate the risk of injury in many instances. That being said, they believe these findings are concerning due to the higher risk of head injury among football players.

In conclusion, the study authors believe this work raises a number of questions about how much health and safety information these players receive in the first place. Similarly, at what point is the risk so high it supersedes a football game?

“That athletes underestimated their risk of concussion and injury in this study raises important ethical considerations,” Baugh writes in a university release. “What is the threshold for college athletes to be sufficiently informed of the risks and benefits of football to make decisions that align with their values and preferences?”

In addition to Baugh, four co-authors are listed. Those authors are affiliated with the University of Washington, the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, where Baugh completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Mental Health Policy prior to joining the CU School of Medicine.

To read the full study, click here. And to read the press release on the study, click here