Concussion injuries have significantly increased in the general population, predominantly driven by a substantial rise among adolescents, according to study findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine.
“Our team looked at the administrative health records of more than 8.8 million members of a large private payer insurance group and noted that 32% of the individuals diagnosed with concussion were between the ages of 10 to 19 years old with the largest increase in incidence between 2007 and 2014 in that age group,” Alan L. Zhang, MD, associate professor of the orthopedic department at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, said in a press release. “This is the first study to evaluate trends in concussion diagnoses across the general U.S. population in a variety of age groups.”
Alan L. Zhang
Zhang and colleagues pulled data from administrative health records of patients diagnosed with concussions during a 7-year period to conduct a retrospective cohort study on the frequency of and trends in concussions. Patients were stratified by age, diagnosis year, gender, concussion classification and health care setting and chi-square testing was administered for statistical analysis.
Of more than 8.8 million patients, 43,884 patients presented with concussions. Results showed 55% of concussion patients were males, 32% were adolescents (aged 10 to 19 years), and the highest incidence rate of concussions was among the group aged 15 to 19 years with 16.5 cases per 1,000 patients. There was a 160% increase in incidence in the general population in the observation period. Fifty-six percent of the concussions were diagnosed in the ED; 29% were confirmed in a physician’s office.
“The rates at which concussions are rising may be in part due to the rise in youth sports participation and also better diagnostic skills and training for coaches and sports medicine professionals,” Zhang and colleagues wrote. “This trend is alarming, however, and the youth population should definitely be prioritized for ongoing work in concussion diagnosis, education, treatment and prevention.” – by Kate Sherrer
Zhang AL, et al. Abstract 150. Presented at: American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine; July 7-10, 2016; Colorado Springs, Colo.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.