A concussion is a serious head injury that may cause severe damage to the brain. While anyone can suffer a concussion, there’s a growing concern for concussions among adolescents, particularly those playing contact sports—such as soccer, football, lacrosse, ice hockey, and rugby, among many others.
Concussions are being discussed in the media now more than ever, with the mounting attention drawn to the risks and the long-term impacts brought on by current and retired professional athletes, especially NFL (National Football League) players who have filed suit against the league. Naturally, the conversation extends to other sports and trickles down to the impact it has on children, where the rate of concussions appears to be increasing. In fact, it seems like we hear about adolescent athletes suffering a concussion, whether during a game or practice, on a regular basis.
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW EXACTLY HOW MANY CHILDREN SUFFER CONCUSSIONS BECAUSE THEY DON’T ALL GO TO THE DOCTOR TO GET DIAGNOSED.
With that said, however: Yes, it is very likely the rate of concussions in the United States is on the rise. Specifically, statistics indicate sports-related head injuries among adolescents are increasing.
According to a 2010 article by online news resource Live Science, a recent comprehensive study reveals that “emergency department visits for football, basketball, baseball, soccer and ice hockey-related concussions doubled from 1997 to 2007 for children aged 8 to 13, and increased by over 200 percent for children aged 14 to 19.”
This data is even more significant, since there has actually been a decrease in the number of athletes participating in these sports by 13 percent, the article states.
Additional statistics the article points out INCLUDE:
- “There were 502,000 visits for concussions in children aged 8 to 19 years in the period from 2001 through 2005; of those, 65 percent were in the 14- to 19-year old age group.”
- Around that same time, “approximately four in 1,000 children aged 8 to 13 and six in 1,000 teens aged 14 to 19 had an emergency department visits for a sport-related concussion.”
- There was an increase in the number of emergency room visits involving younger children who participated in organized team sports: “from about 3800 in 1997 to about 7600 in 2007."
- The number of emergency room visits involving older children also rose: “from about 7000 to more than 21,000 over the same time period.”
A 2017 research letter, shared by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network, reviewed information uncovered by the 2016 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey—an annual, in-school analysis of U.S. students in grades 8, 10, and 12—that also explored this topic. It included 13,088 participants—50.2 percent female and 46.8 male.
The results found:
- Almost 20 percent of these teens had “at least 1 diagnosed concussion in their lifetime.”
- 14 percent had been diagnosed with one concussion.
- Lastly, 5.5 percent had revealed they had been “diagnosed with more than 1 concussion.”
BEING DIAGNOSED AND RECEIVING PROPER TREATMENT IS ESSENTIAL.
If your child is exhibiting symptoms of a concussion, the critical first step toward recovery is to seek professional medical attention and an official diagnosis. This way, you know for sure what injury your child has suffered. From there, the next steps would be receiving treatment, which includes everything from rest and sleep to hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
HBOT is a natural therapy that can be used to help treat concussions. A patient breathes in pure oxygen at an increased atmospheric pressure in a controlled environment, administered by a trained technician.
Exposure to high amounts of oxygen promotes neurological tissue reparation and stem cell mobilization, potentially reducing cognitive impairment that could be caused by a brain injury, and speeding up the patient’s recovery time. Those interested in exploring HBOT as a possible treatment should schedule a consultation with a provider to learn more.