Researchers analyzing emergency room (ER) visits at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center noted a 92 percent increase in the number of sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) visits by youth athletes during the 2002 -2011 study period.
However, the number of children actually admitted to the hospital after their ER visit during the study period remained relatively unchanged.
The study, published in Pediatrics, concluded:
The percentage of children being admitted from the ED [emergency department] with sports-related TBI has not changed over the past 10 years. The severity of admitted sports-related TBI is decreasing. Additional research is needed to correlate these trends with other TBI mechanisms.
[The researchers] did see the trends of more ER visits and fewer severe injuries as potential positive signs that more adults are keeping an eye on concussions and head injuries in kids.
“We are doing a better job at educating ourselves and educating the public about concussion,” [study co-author Dr. Holly] Hanson told HealthDay. “People and doctors are recognizing sports-related concussions more. People are recognizing the signs and symptoms. People are more aware of the complications. So people are coming in more.”
With the school year only about a month old in much of the country, experts have been urging parents, coaches and others involved in youth sport to pay close attention to the signs of a head injury, and make sure plenty of time is taken before getting back on the field following an injury like a concussion.