The number of reported concussions in high school athletics programs has more than doubled in the last 7 years, based on new data gathered from a recently released national study.
Head injuries are an epidemic in the world of sports—and not just professionally. In fact, among individuals 15 to 24 years old, sports are second only to car accidents as the leading cause of concussions.
The good news is that there has been a major push for awareness about the dangers and risks of concussions and other brain injuries in the last several years. This, researchers believe, could be a main factor behind the rise in reported incidents among high school athletes.
While the increase in teen sports concussions was alarming to the analysts initially, what they found was that the rates of reported head injury spiked after the 2008-2009 academic year. This corresponded to right around the time when media coverage about head trauma in professional sports began intensifying, as well as when states began passing legislation on promoting education about concussions and establishing the “return to play” guidelines for youth sports.
What this suggests is that head injuries may not so much have increased in the last 7 years, but rather awareness and higher safety standards have progressed.
“It’s scary to consider these numbers because at first glance it looks like sports are getting more dangerous and athletes are getting injured more often,” said Joseph Rosenthal, clinical assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study. “But I think in reality it’s showing that concussions that were occurring before are now being diagnosed more consistently – which is important.”
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury in which a blow to the head or body, a major fall, or another kind of injury causes the brain to be jarred or shaken inside the skull. Concussion victims may lose consciousness or suffer temporary memory loss, but not necessarily. Other people show no initial outward signs that a brain injury has occurred.
Typically, the recovery period for a minor concussion is minimal – however, prior research has shown that high school athletes often take longer to recover than older athletes, and repetitive head trauma still poses a serious threat to kids and teens active in sports.
It’s vital that both parents and coaches not only know the symptoms of a concussion, but also take the proper steps to prevent a head injury from occurring in the first place.
If your child or teen suffers a major injury while playing a school sport and is diagnosed with brain trauma, then you should know that you may have legal right to remuneration to cover the expensive and long-term medical costs associated with head trauma recovery.
Speak with a Colorado brain injury attorney to discuss your case today.