High School Sports

UC Irvine survey finds concussions prevalent in water polo

Water polo

Concussions are happening in water polo, UC Irvine survey finds.

(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

A UC Irvine survey has confirmed that concussions appear to be prevalent in the sport of water polo, especially for goalies.

More than a third of water polo participants reported sustaining a concussion during a game or practice, according to the poll conducted by UC Irvine researchers.

The survey polled more than 44,000 USA Water Polo members, with more than 1,500 completing the survey. Thirty-six percent of the respondents (30.8% males and 43.5% females) reported at least one concussion.

Goalies reported the highest rate of head injury, with 47% reporting they had suffered at least one concussion.


“These numbers suggest that playing water polo carries a significant risk of concussion,” said Dr. Steven L. Small, professor and chair of neurology at UCI and co-researcher on the survey. “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.”

The results appear in Frontiers in Neurology.

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