Of those reported, 5.3 million Americans live with a traumatic brain injury disability!
Many sports-oriented kids, in team sports have sustained a concussion[i].
After an ice hockey game when our friends' 15 year old daughter was hit in the head, the daughter spoke in a rude and quite sarcastic way to her high school teacher. This "out of character", behavior for the usually reserved teen, was clearly one of the signs of concussions in kids. Our friend did not realize that her daugher had sustained a traumatic brain injury that altered her personality transiently.
That's when we knew we had to write about kid’s concussions.
The CDC sites that in the past ten years, concussions (which are reported), have doubled with the number of visits to the ER for 8-13 year olds, and that concussions themselves have increased among teens at a 200% rate. The first concussion can be problematic but following traumatic brain injury hits may cause permanent or long-term brain damage.
Accumulating more hits to the brain can cause traumatic brain injury disability.
Studies show that a third of those affected will sustain a second concussion the same year.
And 33% of injuries occur from football practice. Why is that? One study “tackles” this issue suggesting that many strategies of the game can be used especially during practice that mitigate player to player contact and other behavior that brings on concussion.ncussions.[ii]
A recent report indicated that children’s’ concussions are ‘vastly under-reported”[iii] and among the signs of concussions in kids, 90% do not lose consciousness. Concussions are much more likely (82% more) to be triaged in their pediatrician’s office than in the emergency room which is where the CDC gets the statistics they use. It is also estimated that there are as many as 3.8 million concussions annually during sports, in the United States—both competitive and recreational, with 50% of the injuries unreported.[iv]
Concussion is defined as a "traumatically induced transient disturbance of brain function and involves a complex pathophysiological process" it is usually self-limiting and is in fact, a mild traumatic brain injury.
The highest incidence of traumatic brain injury from football occurs (47 percent-high school football), then ice hockey, rugby, soccer and finally, basketball. If you have sustained one concussion, you are at a higher risk for another one. And if you have many concussion symptoms, it might take you longer to recover. Women athletes have a greater incidence than men for concussion and young athletes are more likely to have a longer recovery and associated catastrophic injury-traumatic brain injury disability. Preexisting issues such as mood, learning, attention deficit disorders and headaches complicate the management of concussions.
One study suggests that playing fair and wearing helmets for football, lacrosse, hockey and soccer/rugby may prevent impact such as fracture, bleeding and cuts. This however does not correlate with reducing the frequency or severity of the concussion.
There is more information our now about being able to return to playing sports (Return To Play-PTP) and that sports activity should be done when the individual is free of symptoms, due to concussions decreasing ones’ reaction time.
Neuropsychological testing can be used as part of an overall assessment and is useful in managing long-term concussion symptoms. Children should be assessed on the field and not allowed to continue play.
For the best outcome about this worsening public health issue, is the awareness of coaches, teachers, parents and children in order to mitigate long term effects! [v]
Choose to be knowledgeable and informed, because our kids brains’ matter!
[ii] Incidence of Concussion During Practice and Games in Youth, High School and Collegiate American Football Players Thomas P Dompier, PHD, ATC, et al JAMA Pediatr. 2015; 169(7):659-665. Doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0210.
[iii] Br J Sports Med.2013 Jan; 47(1):15-26. Doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091941. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine position statement: concussion in sport. Harmon KG, et al.
[v] J Sci Med Sport. 2016 Mar;19(3):194-9. Doi: 10.1016/jsams.2015.02.009. Epub 2015 Feb 24 On-field management and return-to-play in sports-related concussion in children: Are children managed appropriately? Haran HP, et al.http://abcnews.go.com/Health/concussions-children-vastly-underreported-study-finds/story?id=39506549