HealthDay News — Research indicates that concussions are common in water polo. The study was published in Frontiers of Neurology.

A recent survey of more than 1500 USA Water Polo members found 36% had suffered at least 1 concussion during games or practices. The average was just over 2 concussions per person, and concussions were more common among females than males. Goalies had the highest rate of concussion, with 47% saying they had suffered at least 1 concussion. The average rate was 2.5 concussions per goalie.

Among water polo players whose highest level of competition was high school, 31% reported at least 1 concussion. Among college competitors, 51% said they’d had 1 or more concussions, as did 43% of players at the masters club level. College and masters players averaged more than 2 concussions per player.

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“These numbers suggest that playing water polo carries a significant risk of concussion,” study coauthor Steven Small, MD, PhD, chair of neurology at the University of California, Irvine, said in a university news release. “Our results speak to the need for systematic concussion reporting in water polo. Particularly important is reporting for individuals at the college level, who have the highest prevalence of concussion.”


Blumenfeld R, Winsell J, Hicks J, Small S. The Epidemiology of Sports-Related Head Injury and Concussion in Water Polo. Front Neurol. 2016; doi:10.3389/fneur.2016.00098.