New Insights into Water Polo Head Injuries and Concussions

A water polo goalkeeper and the ball going into the net of the goal.

A water polo goalkeeper and the ball going into the net of the goal.

Director of the Exercise Medicine and Sport Sciences Initiative, Professor James W. Hicks, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, along with Steven L. Small, Chair of Neurology and Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior, worked with their colleagues to survey over 44,000 water polo players to systematically characterize the risks of head injury and concussion within the sport. Their research team found that 36% of respondents reported sustaining a concussion while playing, with an average of two concussions reported per individual. They also found that competition level, gender, and position were strong predictors of concussion risk.  Their work was the first study of its kind on water polo and their results suggest that more reporting on head injuries in water polo is desperately needed in order to better mitigate the risk to players moving forward.

Other researchers who contributed to this work were: Robert S. Blumenfeld and Jessica C. Winsell.  The complete study results can be found online in Frontiers in Neurology.

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