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Pediatrician Calls for Increased Research into Sports-Related Concussions in Youth

March 18, 2012 Brain Injuries

soccer sxchu-thumb-225x168-37938A professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington has called for more research into sports-related concussions in children and teenagers. This month, Dr. Frederick P. Rivara published an editorial in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine which stated many concussions in young people are incorrectly treated as a minor injury. According to Dr. Rivara, two recent studies purportedly demonstrate children and teenagers often have lingering symptoms after experiencing a concussion.

One study, also published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found children continued to suffer symptoms related to a concussion from three months to one year after the initial injury. Other research published in Brain Injury found youth may demonstrate neuropsychological deficits up to one year after a head injury. Although teenagers tended to experience symptoms longer, the study concluded athletes of all ages still tend to exhibit signs of head injury six months after a concussion.

Dr. Rivara stated it can be difficult to determine when an individual has fully recovered from any head injury, even one considered minor. He also said it is often unclear to parents how long a child injured during a sporting or other event may be more vulnerable to suffering an additional concussion. Although the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created the Heads Up program in an effort to tackle youth sports-related concussions, it is reportedly unclear whether the program has been effective. Additionally, more than half of states nationwide, including Indiana, have passed youth-concussion laws. Dr. Rivara believes more research is needed in order to determine whether the laws have impacted concussion treatment in young athletes. He called on researchers, private foundations, the National Institutes of Health, and others to address the lingering symptoms of youth concussions more fully.

In the United States, an estimated 1.4 million people sustain some form of traumatic brain injury each year. Due to the serious and possibly permanent side effects, any brain injury should always be taken seriously. A seemingly minor head trauma can permanently disrupt functioning to the brain and may have a lasting impact on a hurt individual’s long-term functioning. An injury resulting from a blow or jolt to the head can result in unexpected brain damage that may affect a person’s sensory perception, thinking, language abilities, and emotions.

The medical expenses associated with treating a brain injury can be costly. If daily care or other assistance is required, treatment costs will rise substantially. In addition to being potentially life-altering, a brain injury may also increase an individual’s risk for developing other brain conditions over time. If you or a family member have suffered a traumatic brain injury from an accident, it is a good idea to contact a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

More Blogs:

The Complexity of Food-Related Injuries, Indiana Injury Lawyers Blog, March 15, 2012

New Approach on Sports Injury Liability, Indiana Injury Lawyers Blog, February 28, 2012

Additional Resources:

Doctor: ‘Time to Start Paying Attention’ to Youth-Sports Concussions, by Bryan Toporek, Education Week

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