More Children Have Traumatic Brain Injuries

The number of children visiting the emergency room for traumatic brain injuries has increased by 60 percent during the last decade.

Federal health officials say they believe more children are being seen by the doctor because parents are more aware of brain injuries that can occur when children play sports.

“Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, rose from 153,375 in 2001 to 248,418 in 2009,” according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common sports related to brain injuries were bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball and soccer.

“While some research shows a child’s developing brain can resilient, it is also known to be more vulnerable to the chemical changes that occur following a TBI,” Dr. Richard C. Hunt, director of the CDC’s Division for Injury Response.

Between 2001 and 2009, more than 173,000 children and teens were treated for non-fatal sports- and recreation- related traumatic brain injuries each year in U.S. emergency departments.

About 71 percent of all visits were for male patients. Seventy percent of all patients were between the ages of 10 and 19. Children 9 and under were mostly commonly hurt on the playground or while riding a bicycle.

The types of injuries varied by gender as well. While males were most often hurt playing football or riding a bicycle, “females sustained injuries most often while playing soccer or basketball or while bicycling.”

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