ER Visits For Traumatic Head Injuries Spike Dramatically, Researchers Say

“The rate of emergency room visits for traumatic brain injury increased by 30 percent between 2006 and 2010,” CBS News reported Tuesday. “The researchers say the uptick in urgent care for concussions and other related head injuries may be the result of public health campaigns, legislation, and efforts to raise awareness about the dangers posed by such conditions.”

In the study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, University of Pittsburgh researchers pulled data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database. “Between 2006 and 2010, there were approximately 138 million emergency department visits and 1.7 percent of the patients received a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury,” CBS continues. Visits for traumatic brain injuries increased eight times more than visits for any other particular ailment or injury.

This spike in numbers is not unwarranted, researchers add. Recently, new studies suggest that concussions and other similarly serious head injuries may have lasting or even permanent effects on professional athletes, like football players, hockey players, martial artists, and boxers. The serious damage is not exclusive to athletes, too. Injuries from children’s or young adult’s recreational sports can be just as harmful.

The Journal of American Medical Association study follows others, also concerning concussions and brain injuries, baring bad news. Concussions may entail longer healing periods — and some symptoms may not heal, period. “The hippocampus, an area of the brain that is crucial to forming new memories, has been found to be atrophied in boxers and pro football players” as a result of head injuries.

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