A new report from the Centers for Disease Control estimates that close to 7% of children in the United States show signs of a brain injury.
The most likely causes of these brain injuries are sports, falls and abuse. The prevalence increases with age -- from 2% in children up to 5 years old to 12% in 12- to 17-year-olds according to the CDC report.
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found that:
Nearly 8% of boys had symptoms of a concussion or brain injury versus 6% of girls.
The Center says these figures likely underestimate the full extent of these injuries which often go unnoticed or unreported.
What is the significance of these findings?
While 7 percent of children may seem to be a small number, upon reflection it means that many children may be suffering from the long term consequences of the post concussive syndrome including prolonged periods of headache, visual disturbances, problems with, coordination, mood and school performance.
In other children it means that cognitive problems, difficulty communicating, and behavioral and emotional struggles may result.
The important takeaway is that the medical profession must be more vigilant in screening for concussions and all other types of brain injury following any head trauma.
Schools must be on the lookout for these disturbances when a child returns to the classroom following any head injury. Teachers and the school must be prepared to offer these children reasonable accommodations.
Coaches, trainers, and those responsible for the safety of our children while they are engaging in sporting activities must take all precautions to minimize the risk of injury and must keep children out of play following a concussion or a suspected concussion until they are medically cleared to return to play.
Any child suspected of being a victim of child abuse must be screened for a concussion. The full report by the National Centers for Health Statistics is entitled Concussions and Brain Injuries in Children 2020 NCHS Data Brief no 423, December 2021.