Approximately a quarter of adolescents in the US have experienced concussions, according to a new report.
A team from the University of Michigan, US, led by Phil Veliz, reported that the incident of at least one lifetime concussion in US adolescents between grades 8 and 12 had increased from 19.5% in 2016 to 24.6% in 2020.
They also show that 6.6% of adolescents reported two or more concussions as of 2020.
The authors suggest that the increase could be due to more concussions being incurred, or better recognition of symptoms that may have previously gone unnoticed.
The study included 53,000 adolescents from grades 8, 10 and 12, and had an even distribution of boys and girls. Self-reported race/ethnicities were “45.0% White, 11.8% Black, 20.6% Hispanic, and 22.6% other (category included Asian American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander)” they say in their report, published in JAMA.
Concussion affects children and adolescents differently, so robust statistics of concussion incident can improve targeted research and regulations.
“We know it takes much longer for a child’s/adolescent’s brain to recover from a concussion than an adult brain,” explained concussion researcher Alan Pearce to Cosmos previously.
“Moreover, the concern is on the long-term effect of trauma to the developing brain. That’s one reason why children/adolescents need almost double the time for rest and recovery following a concussion than adults, and that the consensus is a return to school should occur before a return to sport.”
Deborah Devis is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science (Honours) in biology and philosophy from the University of Sydney, and a PhD in plant molecular genetics from the University of Adelaide.
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