(Reuters Health) – Almost 20 percent of American teens, or one in five, have suffered a concussion According to recently published statistics.
The odds were even greater for the children, since almost a quarter last year said they had suffered a head injury and had been diagnosed with a concussion.
Boys and girls who practiced contact sports were the most vulnerable. Nearly one in three teenage competitors in contact sports reported having a concussion.
The statistics, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, represent the first count of concussions of adolescents in the United States.
The findings reflect those of a regional study of Canadian adolescents and did not surprise lead author Phil Veliz, a sociologist at the Women and Gender Research Institute at the University of Michigan. , Ann Arbor.
"Sports participation is excellent," he said in a telephone interview. "It has a drawback, and that's an injury."
Symptoms of concussion include headache, dizziness, nausea and amnesia. The symptoms that should prompt an emergency room evaluation include confusion, difficulty waking or staying awake, vomiting, and seizures.
Previous studies have suggested that the impacts of concussion may contribute to changes in cognitive abilities and physical brain changes in juvenile, high school and college-level players.
Veliz and her team analyzed the answers to the new questions about concussions in the annual National Monitoring the Future survey. For the first time, the questionnaire asked students in grades 8, 10 and 12 if they ever had a head injury that was diagnosed as a concussion.
It is estimated that 19.5 percent more than 13,000 respondents said they had at least one concussion diagnosed.
Of the students who practiced a contact sport the previous year, 31.5 percent reported having at least one concussion diagnosed and more than 11 the percentage reported at least two.
Contact sports include football, lacrosse, ice hockey and wrestling, all competitions in which the contact is officially authorized.
] "Now we have a reference number," Veliz said. "We hope that people are implementing interventions at the high school level. We want this rate to go down. "
Dr. Matthew Eisenberg, an emergency physician at Children's Hospital Boston who teaches pediatrics and emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School, told Reuters Health by e-mail: "There is so little we know about prevention of concussions. "
Helmets can protect against inflammation and bleeding in the brain, but not concussions, he said, and strengthening the neck and using proper boarding techniques can protect against concussions, but they are difficult to teach and implement.
"For now, we are left with trying to monitor and identify concussions and give children the care they need before things get worse," he said.
Eisenberg, who was not involved with the study, said he was surprised by the different incidence of concussion rates by race, with black and Hispanic adolescents reporting much less concussion than white adolescents.
Eisenberg said the suspects that the lower number reflects teenagers of color are less likely to be diagnosed with concussion, not that they actually have less concussion. But the question requires more study, he said.
He also noted two limitations of the study. It is based on the fact that middle and high school students report that they have been diagnosed with a concussion and can not determine how many undiagnosed commotions the students might have suffered.
problem for teenage athletes who may not want to report concussion symptoms for fear of being left out of the game, "said Eisenberg.
Veliz would like to see a change in the culture of the Youth Sports.He played soccer and fought in middle and high school and put his own body in danger in response to the pressure he felt to win.
"We could be changing the rules of the game. game, "he said." We could be changing the culture. "
" Maybe coaches should not push that hard. Maybe athletes should not strive to a level where they really cause serious damage to their body that will have long-term effects, "he said.
Parents might say.
When his 6-year-old son, who practices martial arts, competes, says Veliz, he told his sons to practice sports with less contact and less chance of injury. you feel comfortable doing something, just sit down, you do not have to prove yourself, you're a child, this is not your career, just have fun. "
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2wSOTm0 JAMA, online September 26, 2017.