Concussion rates among kids and teens have more than doubled between 2007 and 2014, a recent study determined while examining the database of health insurance claims of more than 9 million Americans.
The study published at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine analyzed the numbers of kids and teens suffering from sports-related concussions in the latest years. The research shows the numbers are higher than previously thought.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 248,000 American children and teens enter an emergency room for a possible concussion, related to sports and play.
Moreover, the team led by Alan Zhang from the University of California San Francisco Center, determined that 32 percent of the concussions reported between 2007 and 2014 belonged to kids and teens between 21 and 19 years old.
The increase in rates was bigger among kids from 10 to 14 years-old, their rates tripled when compared to previous rates. Teens between 15 to 19-year-old also showed an increment on their concussion rates.
Researchers are wondering whether the increment shows more concussions happening or a bigger awareness and education of the injuries, that leads parents and coaches to detect concussions faster.
Higher concussion rates
According to the published study, concussion rates between 15 and 19 year-olds was 16.5 percent for every 1,000 patients. Teens between 10 and 14 years-old had an increment of a 10.5 percent out of every 1,000.
Although the causes of these injuries are not all known, the vast majority respond to sports and play concussions, while performing physical activities such as bike riding and skateboarding.
Despite the numbers, researchers state that parents shouldn’t be alarmed by the rates since kids tend to recover fast and good from this type of injury, and physical exercise is great for their health and development.
The increase of the concussion numbers could also mean more kids are being active and playing outside and physical activities, which is also a good sign for the youth’s health improvement.
“The rates at which concussions are rising may be in part to the rise in youth sports participation and also better diagnostic skills/training for coaches and sports medicine professionals,” assured Zhang in the study
Zhang also assures the increase of attention on the matter has caused both parents and coaches to be more alarmed of concussions in kids. Education and campaigns on the matter have helped the issue.
The “return-to-play” law that has been implemented since 2009 has also helped kids recover from injuries and parents to be aware of the matter.
With this law, coaches are forced to withdraw a child or a teenager immediately from a game if a concussion is suspected. Physicians will need to evaluate the patient and determine the correct moment from them to return to their activities.
Source: Sports Med