Young athlete concussion numbers up

Some alarming figures concerning our kids came out today.

Health officials say emergency room visits by children with concussions from sports and recreational activities rose 60 percent in the past two years.

Concussion awareness has been on the rise in school districts, and so has participation in athletics.

"As a pediatrician I know there are increasing numbers of children competing in sports and so that may also be related as far as the number of concussions in children go," said TTUHSC Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Johnnie Faircloth.

Naturally, the rise in those numbers is looked as as a bad thing by some people, but Dr. Faircloth says it has a positive sign, too.

It could parents are being a lot more careful when the kids suffer any kind of a head injury.

"We don't want anyone suffering a concussion but the fact is they occur and when they occur it's important that they're recognized so they can be treated appropriately."

A concussion is an injury to the brain that doesn't cause a gross abnormality.

The symptoms to look for include concentration trouble, headaches, double vision, nausea, vomiting and emotional problems.

Faircloth says if your child shows any of them, you should contact a doctor immediately.

"If it is a concussion, repeated concussions while still symptomatic can actually be fatal, so its important to have complete and full recovery of a concussion before returning to any activities that may increase risk for a second concussion."

Faircloth says it's very important to recognize concussions, because repeated concussions can lead to neural cognitive deficits, and it's also important to allow athletes to recover fully not just physically, but mentally as well.

The Centers for Disease Control study of Americans 19 and younger is based on a survey of 66 hospital emergency departments.

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