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1 in 4 American teens has had a concussion


By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Nearly one in four American teenagers has suffered at least one concussion, according to a new study.

And although more teens are reporting sports-related concussions, emergency room visits for these head injuries declined between 2012 and 2018.

“One reason that might explain why teens who participate in sports have seen an increase in self-reported concussions could be due to increased awareness of these types of injuries,” said study author Philip Veliz. He is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor.

For the study, his team examined nearly 53,000 students in grades 8, 10, and 12 and found that self-reported concussions increased between 2016 and 2020. Specifically, in 2016, 19.5% of teens reported having suffered at least one concussion. ; by 2020, that number had risen to 24.6%, according to the results.

“Self-reported concussions could increase as children and parents have better knowledge of these injuries,” Veliz said. “We have seen a greater effort in the United States to educate the public about the risks associated with head trauma, and we may have a better understanding of the symptoms associated with these types of injuries.”

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However, self-reported concussions did not increase in all groups. There was no increase, for example, in adolescents who did not participate in sport.

Veliz said the new findings did not contradict studies based on emergency department data that reported a decline in these types of injuries.

“More teens can seek care for these injuries, including care from healthcare professionals outside of the emergency department who have appropriate diagnostic and management skills,” said Veliz.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes a concussion as a type of brain injury that occurs when a blow to the head or body causes the head and brain to move rapidly, causing changes in the brain.

Although not life threatening, concussions can still be serious. Symptoms may include headache, neck pain, nausea, ringing in the ears, dizziness, or fatigue. More serious symptoms include seizures or convulsions, an inability to wake up, and loss of consciousness, according to the United States National Library of Medicine.

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Major sports organizations, including those governing youth sports in the United States, have taken steps to reduce the risk of concussion in recent years.

Veliz said it was important, with the increase in reports of concussions among adolescents, for the public to be aware of these injuries and the best ways to prevent and treat them.

“Concussions appear to be a common injury in teenagers. About one in four have indicated this type of injury,” Veliz said. “Ongoing efforts to educate the public about both the risk and management of these injuries should remain a priority when it comes to adolescent health.

Dr. Teresa Murray Amato, chief of emergency medicine at New York’s Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, reviewed the results. She said greater concussion awareness among teenage athletes is important for staying healthy.

“It is not known whether the actual number of concussions is increasing or whether increased education and awareness of concussion symptoms leads to increased self-report,” Amato said.

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She noted that many school districts are educating students and parents about the danger of not reporting symptoms.

“As we learn more about the long-term side effects of childhood concussions, it’s important to track both the increase in concussion counts and self-reporting,” Amato said. .

Reporting concussions can lead to the development of ways to keep athletes in top shape, she added.

“Increased self-reporting can also help public health officials and school officials create safeguards to keep student-athletes as healthy as possible while participating in organized sports that may pose a high risk of concussions. cerebral, ”said Amato.

The results were published on May 4 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers stressed that continued efforts to monitor and prevent concussions are needed. One limitation of the study was the use of self-reported concussion measures, they noted.

More information

To learn more about concussions, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Philip Veliz, PhD, assistant research professor, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor; Teresa Murray Amato, MD, president, emergency medicine, Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, New York; Journal of the American Medical Association, May 4, 2021

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