Associations Between Sports and Exercise Participation, Use of Narcotic Pain Relievers, and Concussions in High-School Seniors


  • Bryan Denham Clemson University


Adolescents, concussions, high-school sports, narcotics, race, sex


This study draws on data gathered in the 2019 Monitoring the Future study of 12th grade students in the United States to examine the influence of race, sports and exercise participation, and use of narcotic pain relievers on concussion incidence. Multinomial logistic regression analyses first showed that males and females who exercised and participated in sports more often also sustained concussions more frequently. In sport-specific analyses involving males, basketball and football participants were more likely to have sustained one concussion, while baseball, basketball, football, and wrestling competitors showed higher odds of sustaining more than one. Among females, basketball and track participants were more likely to have sustained one concussion, with basketball and soccer participants showing higher odds of sustaining more than one. Use of narcotic pain relievers on three or more occasions associated with male concussion frequency, and use of the drugs once or twice associated with concussions among females. Hispanic respondents consistently reported fewer concussions. When statistical models included basketball and football participation, Black males reported significantly fewer concussions, as did Black females in the presence of basketball participation.


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