February 2016

Risk of lower extremity injury increases after athletes return from concussion

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Collegiate athletes who sustain a concussion have an increased risk of a lower extremity injury long after returning to play, according to two recent studies that strengthen the case for a brain-sprain connection.

Investigators from the University of Wisconsin-Madison tracked the incidence of lower extremity injury for each of 75 athletes in the 90 days following return to play, and in up to three matched uninjured athletes during that same 90-day period. Concussed athletes were 2.48 times more likely than uninjured athletes to sustain a musculoskeletal injury during that time.

The findings, epublished in January by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, are consistent with those of a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the latter study, published in December 2015 by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, collegiate athletes who returned to play after a concussion were 1.97 times more likely to sustain a lower extremity injury in the year following their concussion than in the year preceding it.


Brooks MA, Peterson K, Biese K, et al. Concussion increases odds of sustaining a lower extremity musculoskeletal injury after returning to play among collegiate athletes. Am J Sports Med 2016 Jan 19. [Epub ahead of print]

Lynall RC, Mauntel TC, Padua DA, Mihalik JP. Acute lower extremity injury rates increase after concussion in college athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2015;47(12):2487-2492.

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