Study finds concussions have doubled among U.S. kids

A recent study has found that concussions are on the rise among U.S. kids and teens.

HeadInjuriesThe study, presented Sunday at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s annual meeting, concluded that concussions during adolescence may be more common than previous estimates. Overall, researchers found a 60% jump in concussion incidence from 2007-14, with the largest increase coming in the 10- to 14-year-old age group.

From the AOSSM:

“Our team looked at the administrative health records of more than 8.8 million members of a large private payer insurance group and noted that 32 percent of the individuals diagnosed with concussion were between the ages of 10-19 years old with the largest increase in incidence between 2007 and 2014 in that age group. This is the first study to evaluate trends in concussion diagnoses across the general US population in a variety of age groups,” said lead author, Alan L. Zhang, MD from the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

The highest incidence of concussion was seen in the 15-19 age group (16.5 cases per 1,000 patients) followed by the 10-14 (10.5 per 1,000), 20-24 (5.2 per 1,000) and 5-9 (3.5 per 1,000) age groups. Overall, there was a 60% increase in concussion incidence from 2007-2014. The largest increases were in the 10-14 (143%) and 15-19 (87%) age groups. Fifty-six percent of concussions were diagnosed in the emergency room and 29% in a physician’s office with the remainder being seen in urgent care or inpatient settings.

Zhang noted that concussions in males were one-and-a-half times higher than females. He added that the overall increase in concussions could be due to greater participation in youth sports or better diagnostic skills and training for coaches and sports medicine professionals.

“This trend is alarming, however, and the youth population should definitely be prioritized for ongoing work in concussion diagnosis, education, treatment and prevention,” he said.

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