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Sports Medicine Feature

Source: Wikimedia Commons and Tobias Kleinlercher

Concussion Count Worrisome in Grades 8-12

Biloine W. Young • Fri, October 6th, 2017

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A survey of 13,088 boys and girls in grades 8, 10 and 12 revealed that nearly 1 in 5 teenagers has been diagnosed at least once with a concussion.

About 6% of the children reported experiencing head trauma multiple times. The study was carried out by a University of Michigan research team. The students responded to a questionnaire as part of the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, an annual in-school assessment of U.S. students.

“While participation in contact sports can provide numerous health benefits and a way to build confidence and leadership, there is always the risk of concussion,” said Robert Glatter, M.D. a former sideline physician for the Jets and director of sports medicine and traumatic brain injury at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

“We also know that between the ages of 10 and 12, the brain is undergoing significant maturation and development. Significant and repetitive trauma at this stage may affect not only brain chemistry and structure, but may lead to long-term neurodegenerative change,” added Glatter, who also is an assistant professor of medicine at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. “As a result, it’s best to limit pure collision sports such as football in this age range, replacing it with flag football, until the brain is more fully developed.”

The research team concluded concussions are far more common than has been suggested earlier by data compiled from emergency departments.

In this analysis researchers examined non-contact sports such as swimming and tennis along with the contact sports. They found that athletes were at most risk of suffering a concussion if they participated in football, ice hockey and wrestling. Philip Veliz, Ph.D., lead author of the survey, noted that students need to understand the importance of getting out of a game and not playing when they have been hurt.

According to the publication Newsday, in 2015 there were 383 suspected concussions reported among the 109 high schools who responded to the survey.

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