Nearly 2M children suffer sports-related concussions each year

A new study has found between 1.1 million and 1.9 million children under 18 in the U.S. suffer concussions each year during sports and recreational activities, according to The Seattle Times.

Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle, Seattle Children's Hospital and the University of Colorado in Denver analyzed three large data sets from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to inform their study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics. The Electronic Injury Surveillance System is a federal database that includes a sample of data from hospitals from the U.S. and its territories.

More than 44 million youths participate in sports each year, according to the National Council of Youth Sports, the Seattle Times reported.  While up to 1.9 million concussions occur in kids annually, researchers found an additional 512,000 to 1.2 million concussions are not reported to healthcare providers each year. As a result, hundreds of thousands of children could be suffering from head injuries that could impact cognition, learning, memory and mood. Many may be at risk for second-impact syndrome, which occurs when a person has a second concussion before the first one has healed. In such cases, the brain swells rapidly and can lead to death, according to the report.

"We cannot stress enough that a concussion is a euphemism for a brain injury," said Brent Masel, MD, national medical director for the Brain Injury Association of America. "The most helpful aspect to this study is it's startlingly clear how many kids are not being seen in the emergency rooms and are either not seen at all or are going to their family doctors."

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