A research letter was published in the Journal of American Medical Association on Tuesday, June 25 which summarized findings from a recent Canadian study examining concussions in teenagers. The Canadian research team found that concussion rates in adolescents are much higher than previously thought.
What is the prevalence of concussions in teens?
1 out of every 5 teenagers completing the research project indicated that they had sustained a concussion. These numbers are high, and there are some flaws with generalizing these numbers to the population as a whole. This was a survey research project in which the examiners asked teenagers a series of questions about head injuries and academic performance. Although the likelihood of 1 in 5 teenagers having sustained a concussion is probably not realistic, it is known that head injuries are quite common at rates that are greater than suspected in the past.
Why is it important to know the incident rates of concussions?
The importance of knowing about the incident rates of concussions is that there are numerous known behavioral and emotional variables associated with head injuries. Adolescents who have sustained a head injury are at risk for learning problems, substance abuse, and emotional concerns.
What does this mean as a parent or teacher? If you notice a teenager exhibiting a sudden change in academic performance, behavior, or emotional regulation, you want to have an evaluation immediately. Speak to your child’s pediatrician about a possible neurological or neuropsychological evaluation in order to help determine the possible cause for the changes, as one possible reason might be a sustained head injury.
To read the full Chicago Tribune article on this study, click here. To learn more about North Shore Pediatric Therapy’s Neuropsychology Diagnostic Program for children and teens, click below.