Many children who suffer a concussion continue to experience physical and cognitive problems up to a year after their injury, a new study conducted by a group of pediatric physicians has found.
The study, published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, involved 186 children ages 8 to 15 who went to the emergency rooms of two hospitals with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). One of the study’s authors, Dr. Keith Yeates of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, told Reuters that the vast majority of children recover very well after suffering a mild TBI.
However, “the not-so-good news is that there is a small group of kids who have symptoms up to a year after their injury,” Dr. Yeates explained to Reuters.
Some concussion-related symptoms tended to persist longer than others. Researchers noted that somatic symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, loss of balance, and unsteady walking usually improved faster than cognitive problems, such as abnormal memory and attention deficits. The children who continued to experience lingering cognitive difficulties were those whose concussions resulted in a lack of consciousness or abnormal MRI scans. The study found that 10-15 percent of these more serious concussions resulted in persistent problems.
Every year, more than half a million children and adolescents receive concussions, the most common form of traumatic brain injury. Although the symptoms of concussion usually heal quickly with proper care, persistent symptoms can result in needing more help at school and an overall drop in quality of life.
“The majority of kids in the study were injured in sports or recreational activities,” Dr. Yeates told Fox News. “A small number were injured in motor vehicle accidents, but most were sports-related or falls.”