EL PASO, Texas -- A new study from the journal Pediatrics found good news for most parents of high school athletes: rates of concussions have gone down in recent years across all sports. However, concussions increased during football games, despite decreasing during football practices.
The study found the highest concussion rates for boys' football, followed by girls' soccer and boys' ice hockey. Data showed that across all sports, most concussions occur during competitions. Only one sport had a higher concussion rate during practice: cheerleading.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is typically caused by a bump or jolt to the head.
"We're concerned whenever somebody has an injury to the brain even when its that mild as a concussion," said Dr. Stephen Flaherty, Trauma Medical Director at Del Sol Medical Center. "Because what we've been seeing over the course of professional athletes who have a long history of possibly multiple concussions across time is that there can be long term effects of that."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the United States, more than 800,000 traumatic brain injury-related hospitalizations, emergency department visits and deaths occur in kids each year.
Flaherty said it's important that parents know how to help.
"The most important thing is to provide brain rest," he said. "We want a person to have diminished input, not using cell phones and video games, not watching TV, in a quiet room where there's not a lot of loud noise. We want to make sure they get good rest and good nutrition."