Concussions are an inevitable part of football, and other sports and activities. But now that sensitivity to concussions has increased, possible trends are emerging.
Via the Los Angeles Times, here’s an intriguing one. At higher altitudes, concussions could be less prevalent.
A new study published by the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy finds that fewer concussions occurred during NFL games played in 2012 and 2013 at altitudes more than 644 feet above sea level, with the rate being 49.4 of every 10,000 players. Below 644 feet, the rate was 70 of 10,000.
Nine teams play homes games at an altitude above 644 feet: the Colts, Steelers, Panthers, Bills, Chiefs, Vikings, Falcons, Cardinals, and Broncos.
The phenomenon could be attributed to the reduction in “brain slosh” at higher altitude, where pressure inside the skull increases. With higher pressure possibly comes a reduced possibility that the brain will bang against bone in response to sudden movements that come from quick stops and big hits.
The sample size remains relatively small, and it doesn’t account for concussions that were suffered but concealed by players.
Still, this could be one of many potential discoveries as doctors and scientists try to learn more about the causes and effects of concussions.