Concussion rates are on the rise among American kids and teens, a new report has shown.The study looked at health insurance claims made by 9 million US citizens. It found that concussion diagnoses doubled between 2007 and 2014.
The important question is whether the increase reflects a rise in the number of injuries, just an increase in diagnoses, or a combination of the two. The biggest jump was seen for kids among 10-14-year-olds. Their injury rate tripled. These kids were followed closely by the 15-19-year-olds age group.
The causes for the increase in concussions are bike riding and skateboarding. These sports are really fashionable among teens. The study did not just take high-school athletes into consideration. It looked at a cross-section of the population.
In recent years, the concussion subject has got increasing attention. Parents, coaches and athletes are more educated on how to recognize and respond to a concussion.
Ever since 2009, the states have passed laws on concussions in high-school which affect young athletes. These “return to play” laws require kids to be removed from a game if they get concussions. They also require a doctor’s ok before the athlete can return to practicing the sport.
To Dr. Kenneth Podell this is a positive trend, as the condition is taken seriously. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 248,000 American children and teens end up in ER each year with a concussion from sports or recreational activity.
For the new study, a team of experts used records from 8.8 million people in big insurance plans. What they found was that almost 44,000 were diagnosed with a concussion, since 2007. Still, physicians don’t want parents to be alarmed. Most kids will recover from a concussion without any problem. And such physical activity is healthy, even if it sometimes leads to concussions.
Parents should make sure their kids wear protective helmets and other equipment, when they go biking, skating or skateboarding.
If you notice slurred speech, numbness, vomiting, severe headache, or balance problems, make sure you get to the ER. For milder symptoms, such as dizziness a call to the doctor is all that’s necessary. Also according to the study, girls and boys are just as likely to get concussions.
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