Concussion Study: Over 1 Million Children Go Untreated Every Year In U.S.

A concussion study coming out of the University of Washington, and in collaboration with the University of Colorado and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute has concluded that between 1.1, and 1,9 million children suffer from either a sports or recreation-related concussion every year.

The concussion study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics last month, and also says that out of the 2 million kids who most likely suffer from a concussion in the United States every year, about half of them are most likely never reported to a doctor, which means that half of them are going completely untreated for what we’ve been finding out is actually a pretty detrimental injury. Sufferers of concussions, especially multiple concussions, and even more so those who incur multiple concussions without having yet recovered from the first and/or last one can suffer from things like memory issues, difficulty concentrating, problems sleeping, irritability, and even severe swelling of the brain in rare circumstances.

The researchers analyzed three data sets from 2013 for their concussion study, which allowed them to look into the numbers of patients diagnosed in emergency rooms and certain other health care conditions across the country.

Laser Etched Glass Brain
A woman looks through a laser etched glass brain. [Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

While a concussion is a serious thing, most people who suffer from one will see the dissipation of symptoms within a few days to weeks depending on the severity of the concussion. ABC News quoted Dr. Alex Diamond, who is a specialist in sports medicine said the following.

“The number of concussions that we’ve all been reporting is probably less than what it is in reality. There is an entire vulnerable population of kids that we’re missing”

Because a concussion is actually a minor form of traumatic brain injury — TBI –, and because the prevalence of injury within the population, the Center for Disease Control — CDC — has put plans into place for a system that will monitor the rates of concussions in both children and adults, ABC News also reported.

Currently, numbers for concussions are only being reported by emergency rooms and schools, and not to by the primary care physician, which according to WNCT is where most concussions are diagnosed.

The Seattle Times reported Dr. Mersine Bryan, who is the lead author of the study, and a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Seattle Children’s Research Institute as saying that this concussion study, and the implementation of these new systems are important.

“This new information gives us a frame of reference for how common concussions in kids are. It’s important on a population level because so many kids and adolescents participate in sports and recreational activities.”

MRI Machine An MRI machine, which is often used alongside CT scans to look for things like micro-hemorrhaging in the brains of concussion sufferers. [Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images]

One might have thought that more stringent measures to monitor the population for such an injury would already in place, as even the CDC’s own website says that TBI is responsible for 30 percent of deaths in the United States, with 138 people dying everyday of complications brought on by things like falls — the leading contributor to TBI –, and blunt force trauma.

Probably the most important thing brought on by this concussion study, however, is the repeated notion that should you find yourself in a situation where you’re possibly concussed, it is imperative that you seek medical attention, starting with contacting your primary care physician if possible. If you do this, you will not only be doing the best thing for your health, but will now also be contributing to the numbers which can help fund studies like this one.

[Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images]