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Children’s Concussions on the Rise

Last August CNN did a report on children’s concussions continuing to increase over a ten-year period, in spite of a decline in sports participation. Now the Brain Injury Association of Colorado shares that a conservatively estimated 1,500 to 2,500 young athletes are visiting Colorado emergency rooms for sports-related concussions annually. In addition to this, the number of children treated in the outpatient Concussion Program at The Children’s Hospital has also increased steadily over the last three years, averaging a rate of 32 percent per year! 

“Concussions pose particular risks to children and young adults, whose brains are still developing and may take longer to recover after an injury,” said Dr. Joe Grubenhoff, emergency medicine physician with Children’s Concussion Program. “Most concussions heal within a couple of weeks, but every concussion is serious. A young athlete needs plenty of time – and proper medical management – to give the brain an opportunity to mend.”

Regardless of whether your child participates in sports or not, The Children’s Hospital wants children to be active, but also to be safe. It offers the following concussion-related information for parents and other caregivers:

Concussion Symptoms:

Concussion symptoms that an athlete may experience include dizziness, headache or “pressure” in the head, vomiting, confusion, blurry or double vision, sensitivity to light or noise, feeling groggy or dazed, concentration or memory issues and being “knocked out.” However, a person does not need to be knocked out or lose consciousness to have had a concussion.

In the first 1-2 days after the injury, parents should watch their child very carefully. Signs to be on the lookout for include appearing dazed; forgetting what happened before or after the injury; clumsy movement; slow responses to questions; and mood, behavior or personality changes. Parents can give their kids acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headaches, but no other medications should be given during this time without a doctor’s approval. 

When to Seek Medical Help:

Serious problems after a concussion are rare but can occur.

For this reason, a medical doctor should always be involved in a young person’s care after a concussion.

Parents should seek IMMEDIATE medical help if their child displays:

• A headache that gets worse, lasts for a long time or is severe
• Confusion, extreme sleepiness, or trouble waking up
• Vomiting three or more times
• Trouble walking or talking
• A seizure (arms or legs stiffen or shake uncontrollably)
• Any other sudden change in thinking or behavior

Parents can learn more about concussion care and access a list of resources at 

About The Children’s Hospital:

The Children’s Hospital has defined and delivered pediatric healthcare excellence for more than 100 years. Founded in 1908, The Children’s Hospital is a leading nonprofit pediatric network entirely devoted to the health and well-being of children. Continually recognized as one of the nation’s outstanding hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, The Children’s Hospital is known both for its nationally and internationally recognized medical, research and education programs as well as the full spectrum of everyday care for kids throughout Colorado and surrounding states. With more than 1,000 healthcare professionals representing the full spectrum of pediatric specialties, The Children’s Hospital network includes its main campus, 15 Network of Care locations and more than 400 outreach clinics. For more information, visit

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