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According to a recent study, the number of trips to Emergency Departments caused by concussions in children more than doubled in the last 10 years, despite an overall decline in sports participation.

Using data from a sample of U.S. hospitals that have Emergency Departments, authors, Dr. Lisa Bakhos and her colleagues, found that from 2001 to 2005, about 502,000 emergency visits came from concussions in children between the ages of 8 and 13 years of age. Approximately half of these visits were from concussions related to organized sports, according to an article published in Pediatrics.

The authors ranked the concussion rates as highest in children who played hockey (10 per 10,000 participating children) and football (8 per 10,000 participating children). Some experts have hypothesized that this increase in injuries may be from more competitiveness in youth sports and intensity in practice. But the higher numbers could also be a result of increased awareness and reporting. Pediatricians are also concerned that young athletes may experience more severe long-term developmental and cognitive problems from head injuries than adults.

1 August 2010, CNN Health and Pediatrics Magazine

Concussions can occur in any sport, but more often are the result of ice hockey and football injuries. Equestrian sports also have a high rate of concussion, as do boxing, soccer, bicycling, martial arts, wrestling, and lacrosse.

Fast Fact: Most people recover completely from a concussion in a matter of days; however, it can take up to a year or longer for some athletes to recover.