Concussions may sink more water polo players than you might expect

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Discussions about the dangers of concussions in football or hockey are getting more and more is learned about the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries. But what about lesser known sports like water polo?

Professor Jim Hicks, head of UCI’s  Exercise Medicine & Sport Sciences Initiative and the father of three water polo players, finds that concussions in water polo are more common than one would expect.

“The game is physical. So inadvertently, players may elbow someone in the head,” Hicks said. “I’ve seen that the game is very physical as the balls flying around at pretty high speed, I thought what was happening.”

As a way to offer insight into the dangers of concussions, Hicks has surveyed 1,500 water polo athletes and found that 36 percent have suffered a concussion while 60 percent of goalies reported concussions.

“The more we understand about the game, then we’ll be able to inform the game about potential rule changes, possible changes in equipment,” Hicks said., a local news affiliate, produced a video about the study that can be found here.