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Study Finds Traumatic Brain Injuries From Sports Equipment Affect 6.2 Million U.S. Children

A report published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, stated that there is a high incidence rate for traumatic brain injuries related to consumer products. Sports equipment specifically accounted for 12.3% of all consumer product related children’s emergency room visits reported in the U.S. in 2019.

The number of brain injuries due to consumer products rising by 3.6% between 2000 and 2008, a 13.3% jump from 2008 to 2012 and returning just only 2% between 2012 and 2019.

Boys had the highest incident rate of traumatic brain injuries, with 681 per 100,000 people. Girls have also been increasing over time with a similar average annual increase at 5.1%. Boys have seen a decline in cases of equipment-related traumatic brain injury since 2012, while girls initially saw an increase in since 2011.

One quarter of all traumatic brain injuries that led to an emergency department visit by children aged 5 to 18 between 2000 and 2019 occurred in sports and recreation areas. The second most common place was at home. This is followed by schools and then the streets or highways.

They found that 734,967 football injuries occurred to people who went to the emergency room, followed by bicycling (469,285) and basketball (396,613).

Boys aged 11-13 have the highest incidence rate of head injuries, followed by boys aged 14-18, boys aged 5-10, girls aged 14-18, and girls ages 5-10.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is caused by repeated head injuries, which can cause memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia; in some cases, it may even result in motor dysfunction.

Tuan D. Le, the lead investigator on the study, said that brain injury prevention efforts have been successful in children’s sports programs, but that more needs to be done because girls need more support.

KEY BACKGROUND

In the 1990s, scientists found that a correlation exists between head injuries and boxers. They called these symptoms punch drunk, and in 1996, Congress passed the TBI Act which authorized funding for public and private programs aimed at mitigating head injuries. The concern has now diversified to various contact sports. In 2014, there were 13 million people who have disabilities caused by brain injuries, including 837 thousand children in the US. Brain injuries in children can cause physical and emotional damage

Traumatic brain injury is a matter of concern

In the study, Le discusses the difficulty of encouraging children to avoid risky activities while also promoting healthy and fun exercise. He said that children face a difficult balancing act; their recreation must be both healthy and fun. Le also said that inactivity is a serious concern for children.

Increased Awareness

The increase in head injuries was especially apparent from 2008 to 2012, when traumatic brain injury became more prominent and awareness increased. Increased accessibility to CTE screenings led researchers to believe that incidents were not always brought up earlier.

A death of Football Player with long list of Head Induries

A Boston University study found that a professional NFL football player, Demarius Thomas of the Denver Broncos, died from posthumous stage 2 CTE. The research was published on February 1, 2019 and his death fits into a long list of head injuries in the National Football League.

WHAT DO WE KNOW?

A report published Monday found that countries with large outbreaks of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a decrease in children’s physical activity. Youth sports have since rebounded after being put on hold, but it has left a rough two-year asterisk on head injury data.

Related: Women Allowed To Go Topless In Pools In Germany For Gender Equality

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