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Adolescents—and parents and other adults who supervise their athletic endeavors and physical activities—should be getting more education about the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of concussions, according to a new study published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers evaluated the health records of 8.8 million Humana members, 43,884 of whom were diagnosed with a concussion. The highest incidence was in the 15-19 age group, followed by 10- to 14-year-olds. More than half (56%) were diagnosed in the emergency room, followed by “a physician’s office” (29%), then “urgent care or inpatient settings.” The authors “were surprised to see that the increase in concussion cases over the past few years mainly were from adolescent patients aged 10 to 19.” While symptoms usually resolve within weeks, some patients’ experience depression, headache, dizziness, and fogginess for months after suffering a concussion. Neuroimaging and neuropathological studies also suggest there may be chronic structural abnormalities in the brain following multiple concussions.

Concussion Rates Are Rising—and Adolescents Are Leading the Way