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Sports-Related Brain Injury Rates Climbing in Youths

Emergency departments seeing more children and teens every year

THURSDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The number of sports- and recreation-related, nonfatal traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in children and adolescents has increased significantly in recent years, according to research published in the Oct. 7 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Julie Gilchrist, M.D., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System -- All Injury Program for the period 2001 to 2009 to assess the status of TBIs among children and adolescents 19 years old and younger who obtained their injuries from sports and recreation.

The researchers found that, each year, about 173,285 youths were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal, sports- and recreation-related TBIs, and the number increased during that time period, from 153,375 to 248,418. The highest rate of injury was seen among males 10 to 19 years of age.

"By increasing awareness of TBI risks from sports and recreation, employing proper technique and protective equipment, and quickly responding to injuries, the incidence, severity, and long-term negative health effects of TBIs among children and adolescents can be reduced," the authors write.

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