Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Increases 60 Percent in Young Athletes

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Thursday, October 6, there has been a 60 percent increase among young people involved in sports in the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussions. The dramatic rise in treatment from 153,375 in 2001 to 248,418 in 2009 is thought to be due, at least in part, to more awareness among parents and coaches as to the dangers of TBI. Any sport can leave a participant with a brain injury including football, basketball, and soccer, and even bicycling and playground sports, and these injuries can last a lifetime.

During the eight-year study period, about 173,285 youth up to age 19 visited emergency rooms in the U.S. It may not be surprising that:

  • 71 percent of the injured youth were males.
  • The majority of those injured, 70.5%, were in the 10-19 age group.
  • Bicycle and playground injuries occurred primarily among children from birth to age 9.
  • Girls experienced injuries from bicycling, soccer, or basketball.

Adults have come to realize that there can be long-term impairment associated with TBI even though the injury may seem mild. Emotions, behavior, memory, and learning can all be affected, and even more so in youth than adults because their brain is still growing.

The CDC has begun an initiative called Heads Up to increase awareness among parents, coaches, and school professionals on how to respond to a brain injury. It’s also directed to the medical field to help healthcare professionals recognize and manage concussions in the emergency room.