Concussions in sports are a hot topic in medicine this time of year. The sport with the highest risk of these head injuries is high school football. A study published in this month's Pediatrics said the common injury is under-reported.
Dr. Barry Gilmore, with LeBonheur Children's Hospital, said, "It's not as well recognized because some of the signs can be subtle."
Gilmore is the Director of the Emergency Department. He said over the last ten years there have been increased incidents in emergency department visits, from kids suffering concussions.
Since 1999, hospitals have seen a triple increase in incidence in concussions, among kids 14 to 18 years old, and a double increase in 8 to 14 year olds. Young athletes pose a unique challenge because their brains are still developing. Researchers say athletes may not recognize they have suffered a concussion because symptoms don't appear until several hours later.
An interesting fact in the study shows girls actually have higher rates of incidence of concussions than boys, in similar sports. Doctors say it has more to do with the fact that females tend to have weaker neck muscles and their heads are a little bit smaller.