By: Taylor Eisenstein
Concussion diagnoses are on the rise, especially among youth athletes. A report released by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) found that, from 2010 to 2015, the total number of concussion diagnoses increased by 43%. For individuals ages 10 through 19, diagnoses spiked by an overwhelming 71%. The individuals in this age group are five times more likely to be diagnosed with concussions than all the other age groups. Additionally, states such as Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts experienced the highest concussion rates in this age group. According to the report, many diagnoses for this age group occurred in the fall, a time when concussion diagnoses for males were particularly high. In fact, in the fall, concussion diagnoses among males were almost double those of females, which is likely due to the sports season.
To educate individuals—including parents, coaches, teachers, and healthcare professionals—about concussions, the CDC developed HEADS UP, an initiative that aims to raise awareness, increase knowledge, and further prevent concussions, especially in children and teens. In ten years since it was first developed in 2003, HEADS UP has made great strides in attaining its goals. Since its implementation, it has printed more than 6 million materials, produced more than 150 million media impressions, and more than 1.5 million coaches have completed its online trainings.
In 2012, a study found that pediatric primary care and emergency medicine providers might not have adequate training to diagnose and care for concussion patients. For instance, some providers did not believe that factors such as decline in school performance were indicative of concussion. Consequently, it is important that all individuals—physicians, patients, coaches, and teachers alike—learn to identify concussion signs and symptoms so that they can be adequately treated.
1. Zonfrillo, M. R., Master, C. L., Grady, M. F., Winston, F. K., Callahan, J. M., & Arbogast, K. B. (2012). Pediatric providers’ self-reported knowledge, practices, and attitudes about concussion. Pediatrics, 130(6), 1120-1125.