Researchers at Western University in London, Ont. have found youth living in rural areas are more likely to suffer concussions from injuries involving motorized vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, whereas youth living in urban areas suffer concussions mostly as a result of sports. Hockey accounts for 40 per cent of those injuries.
The study which reveals where and how children are receiving concussions is published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.
A team of researchers tracked youth under the age of 18 who presented to the London Health Sciences Centre emergency departments with a concussion over a six-year period. There were 2,112 pediatric concussions, with a steady increase in number treated each year.
“It was important for us to learn about who is getting injured, where they’re getting injured, and why they’re getting injured. Once you answer those questions, then you can implement targeted injury prevention programs,” said Dr. Doug Fraser, an associate professor in the departments of pediatrics, physiology & pharmacology and clinical neurological sciences at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.
Concussions are a particular concern for children and adolescents because their brain is still developing and they are more susceptible to effects of a head injury. The goal following this research is to create injury prevention programs that target and educate those at high risk of sustaining a concussion.
Along with properly following the rules of the sport and wearing the protective equipment, Tanya Charyk Stewart, the Injury Epidemiologist for the Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) said it is important to recognize symptoms of a head injury and seek prompt medical treatment. “Watch the person carefully. In young children look for symptoms like, irritability or an inability to console the child. If the caregiver has any concerns at all; if a person has any symptoms whatsoever in conjunction with an injury, they should immediately go and be seen by a doctor. Better safe than sorry, so be seen,” Fraser said.