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From The Chicago Tribune:
We’ve written a lot about high school athletes and concussions recently, but what about your 8-year-old football player?

He or she could end up in the emergency department because of a concussion, also known as a “mild traumatic brain injury,” according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

While the number of sport-related concussions is highest in high-school aged athletes, head injuries among younger athletes are significant and on the rise, said Dr. Lisa Bakhos, the study’s lead author and a pediatric emergency attending at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

“I think some used to feel concussions (in younger kids) didn’t happen,” said Bakhos. “But with the increasing competitiveness of sport and as our children generally are bigger throughout the country, the numbers are rising.”

The study, one of just a few to look at pre-high schoolers, found that the rate of concussion-related visits to the emergency department was highest in football, hockey and soccer for children between the ages of 8 and 13. It was released on the same day that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued updated guidelines on sports-related concussions.

What surprised researchers was that, overall, the rate of emergency room visits went up between 2001 and 2005, even though participation in the top five organized team sports (football, basketball, soccer, baseball, hockey) went down. This could be due to the increased awareness and reporting, the study noted.

Read the entire article.

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