Concussion Diagnoses Up In PA, But Doc Says It’s Likely Due To More Awareness

Dec 5, 2016

A new report shows a spike in the number of concussions being treated in Pennsylvania, but one doctor says it could just be due to an increase in awareness.
Credit Jon Olav Eikenes / Flickr

A recent study found the number of concussion diagnoses in Pennsylvania is spiking, but that’s not necessarily because they’re happening more often.

The report from Blue Cross Blue Shield found concussion diagnoses among 10 to 19-year-olds in the state jumped 85 percent between 2010 and 2015. The report doesn’t specify how the concussions were received, nor does it speculate as to why the numbers are increasing.

But Allegheny Health Network Sports Concussion Program Director Edward Snell said the spike seems to be due to more awareness among parents and coaches.

“Even young kids now, because we are educating them, they have a tendency to report their concussions more than they did in the past,” Snell said.

Snell said more awareness among primary care physicians and an openness to treating concussions could also be a contributing factor to the rise.

“Because if you take a look at who takes care of the bulk of concussions, it’s still the general medical community as opposed to concussion centers,” Snell said.

At the same time, Snell said more children, especially girls, are participating in organized sports and those sports are more intense than in the past, which could also be contributing to the uptick.

At his practice, about two-thirds of concussions in children are due to sports and the rest to accidents, he said. Though, that number flips among adult patients, he said.

No matter the reason for the increase, Snell said it’s encouraging to see more children are getting treated for their concussions. He said early detection can prevent long-term negative impacts from concussions.

(Photo via Jon Olav Eikens/Flickr)