The shocking truth about concussions

The shocking truth about concussions

A recent study finds that lots of children are being concussed and parents aren't even aware of it.

As we reported recently, a new study is claiming that young children may be getting concussions, and yet most parents aren’t even aware of this serious medical condition when it happens. And undiagnosed concussions can be a big problem for kids as they grow older.

The study found that the vast majority of young children — about 80 percent — don’t go to hospital emergency rooms after a concussion, and as a result the number of concussions children suffer has been greatly underreported, according to a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia statement. Researchers came to their conclusions after examining data from 8,000 children who were all under the age of 18 and had been examined for a concussion.

Most people recognize that concussions are serious injuries that shouldn’t be ignored, but because they typically happen in violent sports like football played by grown men, many parents aren’t aware of just how vulnerable their child is to these injuries.

Concussions in children can pose some serious health risks, according to a Mayo Clinic report. In order to avoid complications, children need to rest until symptoms are gone and avoid physical and even thinking activities for a day or two.

Experts recommend that children who return to school after a concussion get a lighter course load.

If steps aren’t taken, children can develop post-concussion syndrome, which can result in ongoing symptoms like headaches, dizzines and difficulty with thinking skills. The more concussions that happen, the worse the symptoms can get, and it can be very debilitating to the child later on in life.

“We learned two really important things about pediatric concussion healthcare practices,” says Kristy Arbogast, PhD, lead author and Co-Scientific Director of CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention, in the statement. “First, four in five of this diverse group of children were diagnosed at a primary care practice–not the emergency department. Second, one-third were under age 12, and therefore represent an important part of the concussion population that is missed by existing surveillance systems that focus on high school athletes.”

“We need surveillance that better captures concussions that occur in children and adolescents,” says Debra Houry, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Better estimates of the number, causes, and outcomes of concussion will allow us to more effectively prevent and treat them, which is a priority area for CDC’s Injury Center.”

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