Effect of Concussions on Lower Extremity Injury Rates at a Division I Collegiate Football Program

Matthew L. Krill, Christopher Nagelli, James Borchers, Michael K. Krill, Timothy E. Hewett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Football has one of the highest injury rates (IRs) in sports, ranging from 4.1 to 8.6 per 1000 athlete-exposures (AEs). Previous research has reported that athletes may be at an increased risk of suffering lower extremity (LE) injuries after a concussion. Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the rate of LE injuries in collegiate football athletes after a concussion. We predicted that the overall LE IR would increase after a concussion and that each position group would also demonstrate a similar increase in LE injuries after a concussion. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2. Methods: Daily attendance and injury records were prospectively collected by licensed team medical providers for the 2012 through 2016 college football regular seasons. Each injury report included the date of injury, position group, body part injured, and type of injury. IRs per 1000 AEs with 95% CIs were calculated to evaluate LE injuries at different time points after a concussion (remainder of season, next season, any additional seasons) and by months (<6 months, 6-12 months, >12 months). Mid-P exact tests were utilized to establish injury rate ratios (IRRs) to compare the IR between variables. Results: There was no significant difference in LE IRRs between the athletes post- versus preconcussion (P =.20) or between the postconcussion and no concussion (control) athletes (P =.08). There was an increased LE IR beyond 12 months in the postconcussion group (IR, 9.08 [95% CI, 3.68-18.89]) compared with the no concussion group (IR, 2.88 [95% CI, 2.04-3.96]) (IRR, 3.16 [95% CI, 1.21-7.15]; P =.02). Line position players had an increase in LE injuries after a concussion (IRR, 6.22 [95% CI, 1.31-23.68]; P =.03) compared with linemen with no concussion. Conclusion: There was no initial increase in LE IRs immediately after a concussion; however, there was an increased LE IR more than 12 months after a concussion. There was no increase in LE IRs demonstrated by skill and other position groups. Line position players experienced an increased LE IR the next season after a concussion or greater than 12 months after the injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • concussion
  • epidemiology
  • football (American)
  • injury
  • lower extremity
  • position group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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