The problem of concussions in athletes is an issue that has been receiving lots of press lately, in large part due to the new found understanding of the seriousness of these types of head injuries. In the past, concussions were believed to be mild injuries, requiring little if any follow up attention. However, as we’ve discussed in recent blog posts, the exact opposite is true: concussions are serious brain injuries that can have lasting, long term effects.
And, it’s not just adult athletes that are affected. In fact, as explained in this Science Daily blog post, concussions in school age athletes are on the rise as well:
A new study from Hasbro Children’s Hospital finds visits to emergency departments for concussions that occurred during organized team sports have increased dramatically over a 10-year period, and appear to be highest in ice hockey and football. The number of sports-related concussions is highest in high school-aged athletes, but the number in younger athletes is significant and rising.
Surprisingly, this large increase in injuries was noted despite a decline in student participation in school athletics.
As noted in the blog post, an outstanding issue in regard to student athlete concussions is the lack of comprehensive, universal return-to-play guidelines that would establish procedures to be followed prior to allowing injured students to return to the playing field.
However, as we discussed in this recent post, Congress is considering passage of the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act which would remedy this problem. If passed, the Act would establish preventative guidelines, educational policies and standardized treatment procedures for injured school-age children suffering from concussions.
Concussion are not “mild” traumatic brain injuries, but rather, are serious injuries. What is important is that these injuries, in both adults and children, are now recognized as an issue deserving of additional attention and study. Hopefully, the new found attention will reduce the frequency of concussions and encourage better treatment of those who are injured.