CDC New Estimates; What It May Mean

The CDC released a report about TBI’s (including concussions) being seen in emergency departments.  The report shows a 62% increase over the years of 2001-2009;

This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that an estimated 173,285 persons aged ≤19 years were treated in EDs annually for nonfatal TBIs related to sports and recreation activities. From 2001 to 2009, the number of annual TBI-related ED visits increased significantly, from 153,375 to 248,418, with the highest rates among males aged 10–19 years. 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

These injuries were surveyed from 39 different but related activities that were classified as organized or unorganized sports.  The article theorizes that the increase can be due to increased awareness, which would be true.  However the article also states that this information only encompasses those seeking care at an ED.

We have been running a survey for about a month and a half, and based on the current 81 entries only 30% of the concussion cases were actually seen in an ED.  This leaves 70% of the caught concussions not going to an ED and getting help from a primary physician, athletic trainer, or someone else.  Our survey is primarily populated by those that know about concussions very well, athletic trainers being the big inputers of data, so that may contribute to the low ED numbers.  However, if every sport had coverage from those that were extremely educated in concussions that would mean that there could possibly be another 1,738,926 concussions not being seen in the ED but being found.

Roughly 2 million TBI/concussions annually that are being reported, and with an estimate of nearly 50% of all concussions not being reported by football players in a McCrea et al, 2004 publication it is conceivable that nearly 4 MILLION concussions are being sustained annually by those age 19 and younger.

Some pretty big numbers to chew on…

2 thoughts on “CDC New Estimates; What It May Mean

  1. Jodi Schneider, MS, ATC October 6, 2011 / 15:31

    What are your thoughts on the increased incidence of reporting being on an increased awareness amongst ED personnel what defines a concussion? When I was working as a HS AT 5 Years ago, I remember sending several football players to the ER with concussion symptoms, and having them return saying “The Doctor told me I didnt have a concussion since I didnt lose consciousness” with a note from the MD ” Head Contusion, full clearance with no restrictions”.

    • Dustin Fink October 6, 2011 / 15:51

      That is also part of it Jodi… But sadly not all ED’s know this information…

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