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Brain Injuries on the Rise from Playground Incidents

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that playground concussions are on the rise. The study by the federal agency examined nation-wide data from 2001-2013 on playground injuries to children aged 14 and younger who received treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Of nearly 215,000 children, almost 10 percent (about 21,000) yearly sustained traumatic brain injuries including concussions. The study only included nonfatal injuries and most injuries studied were mild, with monkey bars and swings being the most involved pieces of playground equipment.

According to the study, in 2005, 23 out of 100,000 children sustained traumatic brain injuries. This rate increased to 48 out of 100,000 children in 2013. By 2013, nearly 30,000 kids per year were treated for brain injuries. The increase in reported injuries may indicate that more parents are becoming aware of the potential serious nature of concussions and the need for treatment. The rise could also be attributed to more children utilizing playground equipment.

Of the incidents studied, only 3 percent of the children who suffered concussions were hospitalized or transferred to a different facility for ongoing treatment, while 95 percent of the children were sent home after treatment in the emergency room. Half of the injuries suffered were in children ages 5 to 9 with injuries more common in boys than girls.

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that typically results from some type of trauma to the head which then temporarily disrupts brain function. Signs of concussions include dizziness, concussion, vomiting, nausea and headaches.

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