Emergency department visits for concussion in young child athletes

Pediatrics. 2010 Sep;126(3):e550-6. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-3101. Epub 2010 Aug 30.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to characterize emergency department (ED) visits for pediatric sport-related concussion (SRC) in pre-high school- versus high school-aged athletes.

Methods: A stratified probability sample of US hospitals that provide emergency services in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (1997-2007) and All Injury Program (2001-2005) was used. Concussion-related ED visits were analyzed for 8- to 13- and 14- to 19-year-old patients. Population data were obtained from the US Census Bureau; sport participation data were obtained from National Sporting Goods Association.

Results: From 2001 to 2005, US children who were aged 8 to 19 years had an estimated 502 000 ED visits for concussion. The 8- to 13-year-old group accounted for approximately 35% of these visits. Approximately half of all ED visits for concussion were SRC. The 8- to 13-year-old group sustained 40% of these, which represents 58% of all concussions in this group. Approximately 25% of all SRC visits in the 8- to 13-year-old group occurred during organized team sport (OTS). During the study period, approximately 4 in 1000 children aged 8 to 13 years and 6 in 1000 children aged 14 to 19 years had an ED visit for SRC, and 1 in 1000 children aged 8 to 13 years and 3 in 1000 children aged 14 to 19 years had an ED visit for concussion sustained during OTS. From 1997 to 2007, although participation had declined, ED visits for concussions in OTS in 8- to 13-year-old children had doubled and had increased by >200% in the 14- to 19-year-old group.

Conclusions: The number of SRCs in young athletes is noteworthy. Additional research is required.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult