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Br J Sports Med. 1994 Jun;28(2):90-5.

Sport and exercise headache: Part 1. Prevalence among university students.

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Department of Medicine, University of Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Sport- and exercise-related headaches have been recognized over the last 20 years, but their prevalence is unknown. A nine-page questionnaire was used to study the prevalence of sports headaches among two contrasting populations of Otago University students: medical students (n = 178) and physical education students (n = 190). Both populations had a similar response rate of approximately 80%. It was found that 35% of respondents had experienced sport- and exercise-related headaches among the two populations, with similar rates for men and women seen in both. Comparison of the two populations showed no significant difference in the rate of sports headache among women, whereas the men physical education students has a significantly higher rate of sports headache than the men medical students. A high frequency of trauma-related headaches in contact sports accounted for this higher rate among the men physical education students. This study demonstrated that sport-and exercise-related headaches are a common problem among university students.

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