Annual and Seasonal Trends in Ambulatory Visits for Pediatric Concussion in Ontario between 2003 and 2013

J Pediatr. 2017 Feb;181:222-228.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.10.067. Epub 2016 Nov 11.


Objective: To investigate annual and seasonal trends in physician office and emergency department (ED) visit rates for pediatric concussion in Ontario between 2003 and 2013.

Study design: A retrospective, population-based study was conducted using linked health administrative data from all concussion-related visits to ED and physician office by children aged 5 through 18 years. Time series analysis was used to assess whether periodic components exist in the monthly number of concussion-related visits.

Results: Over the 11-year study period, there were 176 685 pediatric visits for concussion in EDs and physician offices in Ontario. Standardized concussion-related visits showed a 4.4-fold (95% CI 4.37-4.45) increase per 100 000 from 2003 to 2013, with nearly 35 000 total visits in 2013. Concussion-related visits demonstrated a steep increase from 2010 onward. The greatest increases in standardized visits were in females (6.3-fold, 95% CI 6.23-6.46 vs 3.6-fold, 95% CI 3.56-3.64 in males) and 13-18.99 year olds (5.0-fold, 95% CI 4.93-5.08 vs 4.1-fold, 95% CI 3.99-4.27 in 9-12 years and 2.3-fold, 95% CI 2.23-2.42 in 5-8 years). A strong seasonal variability (R2autoreg = 0.87, P < .01) in the number of concussion-related visits was present, with most occurring in fall and winter.

Conclusions: Pediatric concussion-related ED and physician office visit rates have greatly increased in the last decade, particularly since 2010. Prevention strategies may be targeted at those most at risk and at seasonal-related activities carrying the greatest risk of concussion.

Keywords: adolescents; children; concussion; emergency; epidemiology; mild traumatic brain injury; primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care / trends*
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ontario
  • Pediatrics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons

Grant support