Concussions in young athletes on rise -- study

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 PM ET

The number of young athletes making a trip to the emergency room for concussions has risen dramatically in the past decade, a new U.S. study shows.

The majority of the concussions happen to athletes involved in hockey and football, the Hasbro Children's Hospital has found.

Looking at a national database of ER visits, researchers at the Rhode Island hospital found there were 502,000 visits for concussions for children aged eight to 19, between 2001 and 2005. Of those, 65% were in the 14 to 19 age group, and 35% were from children ages eight to 13.

Half of all concussion visits were sports related, and researchers found 95,000 of those visits were for concussions from five sports: football, basketball, baseball, soccer and hockey.

"Our data show that older children have an overall greater estimated number of (ER) visits for sport-related concussion compared to younger children.

Younger children, however, represent a considerable portion of sport-related concussions, approximately 40%," lead researcher Lisa Bakhos said in a release.

The researchers found ER visits for organized team sport-related concussions doubled over 10 years and increased more than 200% in the 14 to 19 age category, while overall participation decreased by 13%.

"What was striking in our study is that the number of sport-related concussions has increased significantly over a 10-year period despite an overall decline in participation. Experts have hypothesized that this may be due to an increasing number of available sports activities, increasing competitiveness in youth sports, and increasing intensity of practice and play times. However, the increasing numbers may also be secondary to increased awareness and reporting," Bakhos said.


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