THURSDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Over the past decade, the number of children treated in emergency rooms for traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, increased 60 percent, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2009, ERs in the United States saw 248,418 children with traumatic brain injuries compared to 153,375 similarly injured children in 2001. Most of the injuries are associated with physical activities, such as bicycling, football, playground accidents, basketball and soccer, the researchers said.
"One of the reasons for the increase is the increased awareness of the importance of the diagnosis and management of concussion," said lead author Dr. Julie Gilchrist, from the CDC Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention.
There may also be a slight increase in the actual number of concussions suffered by children and teens as more children participate in sports, but the CDC doesn't have numbers to back this up, she added.
"We hope increased awareness played a large role," she said.
Children and adolescents need more time to recover from a head injury and are at greater risk for serious complications, such as brain damage, than adults, the researchers said.
"Your kids need to be up and active, but we have to be aware that there are risks," Gilchrist said. "We need to find ways to prevent injuries and know what to do if an injury does occur," she said.
The report was published in the Oct. 7 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
These injuries varied by age and sex. Most injuries -- 71 percent -- involved boys, and 70.5 percent were among kids 10 to 19 years old, according to the report.
Injuries for children 9 and under came mostly from playground accidents or bicycling, the researchers noted.
Boys' head injuries mostly were associated with footbal
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