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ER visits for kids with concussions up, says CDC
October 6th, 2011
07:13 PM ET

ER visits for kids with concussions up, says CDC

Emergency room visits are on the rise for kids with sports and recreation-related brain injuries, a CDC report said Thursday.

According to the study, almost 250,000 children were taken to the ER with concussions and other brain injuries in 2009, up from just 150,000  in 2002.

Dr. Julie Gilchrist, a pediatrician at the CDC, and lead author of the study says she believes the numbers are up because parents and coaches are better educated.

"Because of the increased awareness of concussions, we hope more people are seeking treatment and evaluation of traumatic brain injury," she said.

Early detection and treatment, she says, are the key to preventing serious complications.

"First is recognizing there may be a brain injury, and pulling that child out of play," she says. "Then they need to be evaluated by a medical provider that's trained in diagnosis and management of concussions."

Signs that a coach or a parent might see:

"The child might appear dazed or stunned, confused or forgetful," Gilchrist says. "You might also see behavioral changes, and if they've lost consciousness at all, that's a troubling sign."

Gilchrist says the player himself may complain about headaches or pressure in the head, nausea and vomiting, balance problems, sensitivity to light, difficulty paying attention, or even a general sense of things not being quite right.

According to the study, the most common sports where kids got head injuries were football and cycling for boys; and cycling, basketball and soccer in girls. The group where most of the injuries were seen – males, ages 10 -19.

But Gilchrist says, the increased number of head injuries in children should not dissuade parents from keeping their kids active.

"We don't want this study to make parents fearful and pull their kids out of sports," she says. "What we do want is to get people to be aware of the signs and symptoms and pull their kids out if they start to see them"


soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. nicoleodea

    Concussions Among Youths Increased 60 Percent http://bit.ly/peQdD3

    October 8, 2011 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      In a tough economy, parents push kids to achieve in sports because of huge pro paychecks. I can remember when most sports weren't coached before Middle School; now they start serious coaching in Pre-school.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      ADULT STEM CELLS CURE'S AIDS / HIV and A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS BUT WHY????? IS AMERICA BEING HELD BACK FROM THE MAJOR LEAP IN MEDICINE DOES AMERICA WANT TOO KILL YOU ??????? OTHER COUNTRIES MAKING MAJOR LEAPS INTO MEDICINE BUT AMERICA IS STILL IN THE STONE AGE WHY????? WHO BENEFITS THE FDA BIG CORPORATIONS .......???

      October 17, 2011 at 22:29 | Report abuse |
  2. Joanna

    HELSINKI — The Finnish government and major insurance companies announced Wednesday they will pay for lifetime medical care for children diagnosed with narcolepsy after receiving the swine flu vaccine.

    "The compensation will provide much-needed financial assistance for the families, although it cannot take away the emotional distress caused by this condition," Social Services and Health Minister Paula Risikko said in a statement.

    Finnish and international researchers recently found a conclusive link between the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine and new cases of narcolepsy, a chronic nervous system disorder which causes people to often uncontrollably fall asleep.

    The Finnish Pharmaceutical Insurance Pool (LVP), which represents insurance companies, said Wednesday it would honour all insurance claims in this category.

    October 9, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • redsun

      please stop trying to drum up false vaccination fears. It's irresponsible and dangerous.

      October 10, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
  3. BB

    @Nicole....where do you come from?? I had coaches in tee ball when I was 5 years old and that was in 1980.

    October 9, 2011 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. teresa

    ADULT STEM CELLS CURE'S AIDS / HIV and A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS BUT WHY????? IS AMERICA BEING HELD BACK FROM THE MAJOR LEAP IN MEDICINE DOES AMERICA WANT TOO KILL YOU ??????? OTHER COUNTRIES MAKING MAJOR LEAPS INTO MEDICINE BUT AMERICA IS STILL IN THE STONE AGE WHY????? WHO BENEFITS THE FDA BIG CORPORATIONS .......?

    October 17, 2011 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.