Report: Youth Athletes More Susceptible to Concussions

WASHINGTON — The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council released a report Wednesday questioning the risks in youth sports, noting that many young athletes suffer concussions.

The report states that young athletes resist reporting an injury and staying on the sidelines until it’s healed. Recent guidelines state an athlete suspected of having a concussion should be taken out of the game immediately and should not return until cleared by a trained professional, Associated Press reports.

In 2009, as many as 250,000 people 19 years of age and younger were treated in the emergency room for concussions and other sports-related brain injuries, up from 150,000 in 2001. It is unclear how many children and teens suffer from concussions today, because many go undiagnosed.

It is not easy to spot a concussion, as symptoms might not be obvious right away. Some athletes may have a concussion without losing consciousness. And while it can typically take within two weeks from a youth athlete to recover from a concussion, in 10% to 20% of cases, symptoms can last longer.

The top sports with the highest concussion rates in male athletes in high school and college include football, ice hockey, lacrosse and wrestling. For females, soccer, lacrosse and basketball are atop the list. Women’s ice hockey has one of the highest reported concussion rates at the college level.

Officials stress that youth athletes should wear helmets and other sport-appropriate safety gear to guard against other injuries, including skull fractures and face injuries.

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