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Increasing incidence of hospitalisation for sport-related concussion in Victoria, Australia

Globally, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults and is involved in nearly half of all trauma deaths.1 In Australia, Europe and the United States, the estimated annual incidence of TBI requiring hospitalisation is 60–250 per 100 000 population, with 80%–90% of cases categorised as mild TBI.2 For some young adults in the US, the annual incidence of emergency department presentations for TBI is reportedly as high as 760 per 100 000 population.3 In Australia, limited population data are available, but one report estimated the direct hospital costs for all TBI in the 2004–05 financial year at $184 million.4

A subset of mild TBI is concussion, reflecting a complex pathophysiological process resulting from trauma to the brain. Common symptoms include headache, amnesia, confusion, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, balance problems and fatigue. Loss of consciousness is reported in 10%–20% of cases. Most concussions resolve within a few days to weeks, but in some cases the symptoms can be prolonged.57