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Study: Adolescents Most At-Risk Group for Head Injuries

A news report from The Irish Times indicates that adolescents are among those who are most at-risk of concussive injuries in sports. According to the Irish Times report, several studies conducted show that children were found to be more vulnerable to concussion and the likelihood of the injury being diagnosed was much less than in professional athletes. Michael Collins, PhD, a concussion expert, recently took part in the UPMC Beacon Orthopaedic Summit 2013- Sports Injury Management to discuss head injuries and young athletes.

Collins explains that his Pittsburgh-based clinic sees 20,000 cases of concussions each year. Collins states, “We’ve published studies showing kids are more vulnerable. In fact we’ve done studies looking at high school (secondary school) kids versus NFL players and clearly the kids take a lot longer to recover. There is a lot more vulnerabilities in that population.” He adds, “From someone who sees High School, college and professional athletes, the High School kids by far are the ones that you have to be concerned about for many reasons.”

The Irish Times report indicates that the developing brain, for a number of reasons, is more susceptible to concussive blows than an adult brain. In addition, there may not be skilled medical attention available for pitch side assessment of players who take blows to the head, and there is more of a chance that teens who are concussed may go unnoticed or undiagnosed. Without proper care and treatment, the injury may become worse.

Collins says, “You don’t want to be overly sensationalist about this injury but what I can tell you as a clinician, who has spent his entire career with this injury is that there is a lot of sick kids out there with this injury, 90 per cent of them just because they haven’t been managed properly.” Collins also states, “The spotlight on this injury is iridescent in the United States. It’s iridescent, it’s so bright and I think you are starting to see that permeate over here.”

Source: The Irish Times