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More than half of youth concussions aren’t from contact sports, study finds

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Philadelphia — Heads up, parents: Not all concussions are sports-related. Nearly two-thirds of pediatric concussions happen during activities outside of contact sports, according to a joint study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using data from Children’s Hospital, researchers selected and reviewed a random sample of 1,625 patients younger than 18 who had at least one concussion diagnosis. Although 40 percent of the concussion cases examined were attributed to “contact/collision sports and recreation” such as football or soccer, the researchers also found that:

  • 30 percent occurred in non-sports- and non-recreation-related activities, a category that includes falls and motor vehicle-related crashes.
  • 30 percent occurred in limited- or non-contact sports and recreation activities, including playground, recess and gym.

“This study tells us that we need to extend traumatic brain injury prevention and management outside of youth sports to ensure all children who sustain a concussion receive the necessary care to return to daily childhood activities, including school and play,” Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa, the study’s lead author and a senior health scientist at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in an April 4 press release.

The hospital highlights its Concussion Care for Kids: Minds Matter website as a resource for finding out the signs of concussions, along with recommended prevention and recovery methods. Another resource is the CDC’s HEADS UP to Youth Sports webpage.

The study was published online April 4 in the Journal of Pediatrics.

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