Kids' Concussion Symptoms Can Last a Year, Study
MONDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Some children who suffer a
concussion will display continued difficulties, such as attention
and memory problems, for many months, a new study finds.
Concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injury, are
common in childhood, with more than 500,000 children and teens a
year needing hospital treatment for these injuries, the researchers
"The results of the study suggest that the majority of kids who sustain mild traumatic brain injuries actually do quite well and don't have to have persistent symptoms after their injury," said lead researcher Keith Owen Yeates, director of Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
"But, there is a small, but significant proportion of kids that do go on to have persistent symptoms after their injury, lasting as long as three to 12 months," he added.
The extent and duration of the symptoms appear to be related to
the severity of the injury, and can affect quality of life and
school performance, he said.
Kids shouldn't go back to play until their symptoms are gone,
and the medical profession must fine-tune guidelines regarding
permissible post-concussion activity, Yeates said.
The report was published in the March 5 online edition of
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
For the study, Yeates' team compared almost 200 children and
teens ages 8 to 15 who suffered a mild brain injury to about 100
similarly aged children who had a bone injury.
The researchers looked for symptoms of headache, fatigue,
inattention and memory problems during the year after the
They found children who suffered a mild brain injury were more
likely to show these symptoms compared to other children. Also, the
physical symptoms abated sooner in the concussed kids than the
problems involving mental, or cognitive, functioning.
Moreover, these symptoms appeared worse in children who had lost
consciousness or had abnormalities seen on brain scans, the
It's not just football and hockey that pose a risk for student
athletes. Soccer is the leading cause of sports-related concussions
among high-school-age girls, the study pointed out.
Dr. Frederick Rivara, a professor and division chief of general
pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of
an accompanying journal editorial, said concussions are taken more
seriously by physicians, parents and coaches nowadays.
Sports are important for health, but care must be taken to
protect youngsters from head injuries, Rivara said.
"If kids have symptoms of concussion they should be taken out of the game and shouldn't return to play without seeing a physician," he said.
Rivara said children should see a doctor after a concussion
whether or not they lose consciousness.
"We have ignored these injuries, and we don't know enough about these injuries," he said. More research is needed about the consequences of concussions, he added.
For more information on concussions, visit the
for Disease Control and Prevention.
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