Study: Number of concussion diagnoses spike across U.S.

EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A new study has shown the number of concussion diagnoses has spiked over the past five years.

As a mom of a football player, local mom Christine Meehan has her concerns.

“I do worry about him getting tackled down and possibly, you know, getting hurt,” she said. “There’s injuries probably every week. Something happens where a lot of the kids suffer some sort of injury.”

Meehan’s son is a junior at Columbia High School. He has been playing since eighth grade and has broken a collar bone. But Meehan said she knows getting a concussion is a real possibility.

“It’s part of the risk of playing the game,” she said.

A study conducted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association shows concussion diagnoses increased 71 percent from 2010 to 2015 for those ages 10 through 19 nationwide. In New York State, diagnoses increased by 72 percent.

The study states the increase is a result of increasing media coverage and recent state laws that draw attention to the issue.

Dr. Jim Saperstone of Capital Care Pediatrics agrees.

“The episode of being zonked in the head and being a little dizzy and having a headache for a little while and saying, ‘Ahh, sit down. Just walk it off and you’ll be fine.’ Now, they’re concussions,” he said.

Dr. Saperstone said the spikes are a big deal for both those with severe concussions as well as those with several small concussions.

“We now know that these many minor little episodes, once they accumulate over years, those, too, can lead to potential brain damage,” he said.

That’s Meehan’s concern: the impact of concussions in the long-term.

“It’s a serious problem, and I think parents need to be aware of it, but I think the schools are stepping up, and you know, they’re doing what they can,” she said.

Dr. Saperstone said it’s important for parents to encourage their kids to be honest about even the smallest head injury.

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