Number of playground concussions rising


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Summer is the prime time to be a kid. But it’s also the prime time for parents to worry about an injury.

Playground concussions are on the rise according to a new government study, with monkey bars and swings involved the most. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined national data on playground injuries to kids age 14 and younger who received emergency room treatment. Of almost 215,000 kids treated every year, almost 10%, about 21,000 had traumatic brain injuries including concussions.

“I think the biggest thing we could get out of that study in general is this isn’t a sports issue,” said Dr. Chris Liebig of Akron Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Liebig also had results from another study which estimates that between 1 to 2 million sports and recreation related concussions happen every year in children age 18 or younger. That’s much lower than a previous study which pegged the number at nearly 4 million. Dr. Liebig specializes in sports medicine, and points out, that a concussion can come from more than just a hard hit to the head.

“When really it can be just the whiplash effect of falling too hard after going down the slide or falling off the slide or monkey bars as the study pointed out,” said Dr. Liebig.

Dave Shannon was sitting out this day at Boardman Park. The 12-year old remembers getting a concussion 3-years ago, after being pushed hard from behind and having that whiplash effect in a football game. It didn’t come from a hard hit.

“I always remember being dizzy and out of it,” said Shannon. “Never being able to do anything that I usually do.”

Dave says those symptoms lasted a month. A child’s concussion is just like an adult’s, similar symptoms include a headache, neck pain, confusion, even memory lapses. Dr.Liebig checks for 22 symptoms as he diagnoses a concussion.

“Certainly any of the scarier symptoms, the nausea, the vomiting, but it can be something as subtle as a change in sleeping habits, either less or more,” said Dr. Liebig.

Kids also show more emotional symptoms than adults, such as being irritable, confused, or nervous.

Most adults get their concussion information from sports, and see athletes back on the field within a week or two.

‘Kevin Love got a concussion and five days later he’s back,” said Dr. Liebig.  “For kids, I think it’s safe to say 70% will recover in a month.

The most important thing to know is that all concussions are potentially serious and Dr. Liebig feels the first 24-48 hours are crucial when it comes to care.

Some symptoms of concussions include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, sadness, feeling foggy or ‘slowed down,’ difficulty concentrating or remembering and sleeping more than usual or difficulty sleeping.

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